The Honors Program offers an opportunity to work on various Department of Labor issues while building professional relationships with attorneys and program staff across the country. Ashkea took full advantage of that rotational structure to learn about all the opportunities available within the Office of the Solicitor.
Ashkea, a Howard Law School graduate, became the first Howard graduate accepted in the SOL Honors Program. Her introduction to the program is unique. During law school, she took a course on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act – the law that sets standards that protect the savings of millions of America’s workers. Attorneys in the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration taught it, and the course inspired her to channel her passion for public service into worker protections.
To Ashkea, the Honors Program gave her a space, as a brand new attorney, to explore what’s important. In her words, “you do not find that often in the real world. It was pivotal in forming who I am as a lawyer.” A memorable moment during her detail with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration involved visiting the Washington Monument to assess repair work following an earthquake. From the 491-foot level of the scaffolding surrounding the Monument, she observed workers wearing proper gear and following required worker protections. That experience put into perspective the work she was doing at the department.
Currently, Ashkea works in the Division of Employment and Training Legal Services. Prior to moving agencies, she worked for eight years in the Division of Federal Employees’ and Energy Workers’ Compensation.