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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Remarks of Secretary Hilda L. Solis
Small and Minority Business Roundtable
Monday, February 28, 2011
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thank you Michael (Blake) for the introduction and thank you all for being here.

It's a pleasure to be with all of you and it's always great to be in Philadelphia.

The President is always looking for ways to get out of the bubble in Washington and hear directly from people across the country.

We hope to get some good ideas, constructive feedback, and productive back-and-forth as we talk about ways to win the future.

That's why last week President Obama and members of his Cabinet — myself included — held a working session with small business owners in Ohio.

As the President has said — we have to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world, tapping the creativity and imagination of our people.

No one has a monopoly on good ideas.

We know that small business owners offer a wealth of experience from which you can share.

We need to tap into this creativity and imagination of our people and that's what we hope to do here today.

As the President has said time and again — small businesses are at the heart of America's economy and are a driving force to lead America's future.

And as the Secretary of Labor, I understand that as the economy recovers, we need to take the necessary steps to retrain and prepare the next generation of workers for the jobs and the economy of the future.

And I'm proud to say the Labor Department is working hard to help train workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

As many of you know, the Labor Department oversees a national network of more than 3,000 One Stop Career Centers.

These centers are located in communities in every state and are designed to provide a full range of assistance to job seekers and employers under one roof.

And we have provided assistance and help to workers.

For the twelve month period ending September 2010, just over 7 million people participated in WIA services.

And during that same period, over 720,000 people found jobs.

In addition, we have:

  • Worked with business and industry to develop industry competency models and to identify and validate the competencies that employers need in high-growth, high-demand sectors at one-stop career centers;
  • Teamed up with Project GATE to help entrepreneurs create, sustain, and/or expand their existing small business;
  • Launched the Skills for America Future Program — bringing together businesses, nonprofits, and schools to train Americans for the jobs of a new century; and
  • Launched mynextmove and myskills myfuture online tools for job seekers and employers.

These are just a few programs we have launched since I have been in office.

And we are just getting started.

But, I am here to hear from you.

I want your stories — your successes, your failures, what barriers you're seeing out there to expand, what you've learned along the way.

So, again, I am very grateful for all of you being here.

This is a conversation and working session combined.

I hope you will express your opinions honestly and won't hold anything back.

Let's get started