Robert B. Reich is the nation's 22nd Secretary of Labor. Appointed by President Clinton to "bring forth a revolution in lifetime training and education of our workforce," Reich has dedicated himself to reinvigorating and reinventing the Department of Labor.
Under his leadership, the Labor Department has moved forward on several pathbreaking initiatives to build the skills of American workers. The School-to-Work Opportunities Act, which the President signed into law in May, will ease the transition from secondary education to the world of work for the 75% of America's youth who do not graduate from college. Goals 2000, also recently enacted, will establish a national system of skill standards, certifying that workers have the skills that employers increasingly need. And earlier this year, the President introduced the Reemployment Act, which will begin to transform America's unemployment system into a reemployment system that launches workers into new jobs.
Reich is also committed to creating better jobs. The Labor Department has renewed its commitment to enforcing labor laws, and has collected tens of millions of dollars in back pay and other damages for victims of discrimination. The Department has also cracked down on sweatshops, on unsafe worksites, and on fraudulent purveyors of health insurance. Under Reich's guidance, legislation has been introduced to reform the pension system and ensure full funding of pension plans. And the Family and Medical Leave Act has been passed and implemented. In addition, Reich has created the Office of the American Workplace to encourage greater collaboration between workers and managers, and to promote worker involvement in decisionmaking and on-the-job training.
Before coming to the Labor Department, Reich was on the faculty of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served as an assistant to the Solicitor General in the Ford Administration, and headed the policy planning staff of the Federal Trade Commission in the Carter Administration. He has written seven books and more than 200 articles on the global economy and the U.S. workforce.
Reich graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale Law School, and received a degree from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Clare Dalton, and their two sons, Adam and Sam.