With over 20 years of advocating for the rights all working people, Irasema Garza brings a broad range of experience to the Department of Labor.
Ms. Garza served as president of Legal Momentum, the Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund. Under her leadership the 40 year old organization was transformed into a women's right's organization for the 21st century with a focus of not only advancing gender equality but also on the economic and personal security of women, particularly poor and low-wage working women and their families.
Before joining Legal Momentum in 2008, she established a reputation as a dedicated advocate on behalf of women and minorities. She began her career in the family court system, and later moved to public policy, working for the Department of Labor. Her varied experience also includes consulting for Fortune 500 companies on diversity integration and directing national programs for labor unions.
An appointee in the Clinton Administration, Garza served as the first secretary of the National Administrative Office, which was charged with implementing the labor provisions of NAFTA. Garza successfully managed the creation of the organization, building coalitions between labor groups, businesses, and governments to address labor rights. President Clinton later nominated her to serve as the fourteenth director of the Women's Bureau, the only federal agency mandated by Congress to represent America's wage-earning women in the public policy process. After receiving a unanimous Senate confirmation, Garza set to work ensuring that economic security for women was a policy priority for the Department of Labor. She established innovative outreach programs that expanded the reach of the organization outside of U.S. borders, helping the government of Costa Rica to establish a women's bureau within its own department of labor.
Garza has extensive experience advocating for and reaching out to large, diverse populations of constituents. From 2003 to 2006, Garza served as the director of women's rights for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which serves more than 1.6 million members. Garza later served as the national political director of Working America the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
In 2008, the same year she became the seventh president of Legal Momentum, Garza served on President Barack Obama's transition team. She frequently provides commentary on women's and Latino issues for mainstream media outlets, as well as in the Spanish-speaking press. Garza holds a BA from the University of Michigan in Political Science and is also graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
Megan J. Uzzell was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP), on June 21, 2009 and served as Acting Assistant Secretary until October 21, 2009. In this role, Ms. Uzzell advises the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Assistant Secretary on policy development, regulations, program implementation, compliance assistance strategies, program evaluations, research, budget and performance analysis, and legislation. Ms. Uzzell also provides analytical support with respect to policy issues, trends and economic analyses affecting programs of the Department. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Uzzell served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary.
From 2004 – 2009, Ms. Uzzell worked on legislative matters as a staff member to then Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (now Secretary of Labor). During this time, she rose from Legislative Assistant to Legislative Director, responsible for legislative activities involving energy, environment, appropriations and transportation. Her previous experience includes employment at the National Environmental Trust and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
A graduate of the Drake University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Political Science and International Relations. Ms. Uzzell also has a Master of Arts degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Director, Workforce Development and Security Division Office of Regulatory and Programmatic Policy Kathleen E. Franks
Kathleen E. Franks is the Director of the Workforce Development and Security Division in the Office of Regulatory and Programmatic Policy. Dr. Franks’ division is responsible for routinely providing DOL agency leadership analyses of and recommendations regarding DOL agencies’ major regulatory, legislative and policy initiatives related to workforce development and security. Dr. Franks and her team are responsible for evaluation and tracking of DOL regulatory programs and strategies and ensuring that DOL’s regulatory initiatives are in compliance with all of the relevant statutes and executive orders that govern the promulgation of regulations by Federal agencies. Dr. Franks is also the co-Chair of the Department’s Open Government Initiative Work Group, and represents the Department on interdepartmental regulatory policy committees.
Dr. Franks holds a Ph.D. in Monetary Economics, a Master of Arts degree in Urban Economics from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Maryland at College Park, MD.
Demetra Smith Nightingale is Chief Evaluation Officer for the U.S. Department of Labor. As the Chief Evaluation Officer, she is responsible for coordinating the Department's evaluation agenda and working with all agencies to design and implement evaluations. She is an expert in employment policy, workforce development, labor markets, and social policies and programs, and has conducted many evaluations of federal, state, and local programs aimed at increasing employment, skills, and income for workers and families.
Dr. Nightingale is the author or co-author of five books and dozens of articles. Her most recent books are Repairing the U.S. Social Safety Net (with Martha Burt) and Reshaping the American Workforce in a Changing Economy (with Harry Holzer). She is on leave from the Urban Institute where she is a Senior Fellow, directing many evaluations and research projects on employment, job training, social policy, and skills development.
She is also Adjunct Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University, teaching graduate courses in Program Evaluation. From 2002 to 2010, she was on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University teaching courses in Applied Program Evaluation and in Social Policy, before returning to the Urban Institute where she had previously been for 29 years, and has also taught at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Marymount University. In addition to her research in the U.S., she has conducted studies in Argentina, Chile, Russia, and China. She is also Senior Research Affiliate with the Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, a senior research consultant with the World Bank, serves on many boards and task forces, and was an expert advisor to the White House Welfare Reform Working Group in 1992-93. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Ph.D. in Public Policy, both from the George Washington University, and is a native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.