The following briefs and links are from the Department of Labor newsletter of July 2, 2014.
ApprenticeSHIPS Are a Win-Win for San Diego
While there are certainly many reasons to call San Diego home, the area's role as an epicenter for military and defense operations is a large driver of the local economy. For companies, that means maintaining a reliable pipeline of talented workers. One of the best ways to do so is through Registered Apprenticeship programs like the one at the Navy Shipyard Depot Maintenance Facility at the Naval Air Station North Island. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez visited the program June 26 to learn how apprenticeships are helping support the Navy fleet. Apprentices learn to repair and maintain ships, earn industry recognized certificates, and complete leadership and supervision training through Southwestern College. Since apprenticeships are the original on-the-job training, participants earn a starting wage of almost $16 an hour with the opportunity to be promoted every six months. Seasoned journeymen earn more than $24 an hour. Approximately 45 percent of the program's participants are military veterans, including 2nd-year Pipefitter Apprentice Ben Hummel, who shared his story with Perez during the visit. Hummel joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002 and was deployed to Iraq in 2005. After returning to civilian life, and working as a delivery driver, Hummel began a new career with the shipyard in 2012 to expand his opportunities.
Foreign-Trained Health-care Professionals See Careers in U.S.
Internationally trained doctors and nurses seeking licensing in the United States met with Secretary Perez on June 26 in San Diego. Since 2001, the Welcome Back Center at Grossmont College has assisted more than 3,600 foreign-trained health-care professionals who have the right to work in the United States but need assistance obtaining appropriate licenses, credentials, orientation and job placement. Perez met with medical professionals representing a number of countries, some of whom graduated at the top of their class. One student told Perez that, before her mother passed away, all she wanted was to be a pharmacist. Now, she says, "My dream is also to be a pharmacist and achieve that for both of us." Perez, too, shared his personal story with the students. "My parents came here from the Dominican Republic," he said. "My family was a generation ahead of where you find yourself and I'm confident your children — should you have them — will say mom and dad changed our lives."
Creating Opportunity for People With Criminal Records
The White House's Champions of Change initiative celebrates "ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things in their communities." During a day-long Champions of Change event on June 30, co-hosted by the departments of Labor and Justice and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Secretary Perez led a roundtable with business leaders to highlight models for employing individuals with a criminal record and putting them on a pathway to the middle class as productive members of their communities. In June, the department awarded $74 million in grants to 37 community service organizations to provide employment, training and support services to successfully re-integrate formerly incarcerated adults and youth involved in the juvenile justice system into their communities. At the roundtable, Perez and 13 business leaders discussed these efforts as well as model private-sector programs that help Americans gain a second chance.
Resources for Working Families
Since the June 23 White House Summit on Working Families, the Women's Bureau has introduced new resources to help working women. Among them is an online portal that connects women at any career stage with relevant tools, data, resources and publications developed by the department. Another is an online map that provides federal- and state-level statutory information on employment protections against pregnancy discrimination and for nursing mothers, as well as contact information for related state government offices.