Deric Richardson had been out of work for over a year. He had a GED and a Microsoft Office certificate, but needed an opportunity to improve his skills. That opportunity came in the form of tuition-free training in laboratory skills provided by the nonprofit BioTechnical Institute of Maryland. Shortly after successfully completing the training, Deric was hired by Baltimore-based Paragon Bioservices in July 2010.
Today, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez is traveling to Baltimore to meet with him.
Deric’s story is just one great example of how job-driven training is working for Americans across the country. When we talk about "job-driven" training, we're talking about making sure we're providing people with the skills that employers are looking for right now to fill available jobs. Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will elevate more job-driven programs like BTI.
This is the second in a series of “day in the life” trips Secretary Perez -- in addition to other secretaries across the President's cabinet -- will be taking over the next few months. It's a chance to talk directly with the people the Labor Department works for every day.
We want to make sure you see what he sees, too. Follow along today to see live updates and highlights from Secretary Perez’s day.
Secretary Perez arrives in Baltimore.
Deric meets Secretary Perez outside BTI, where he received the training that launched his career.
Next, he gets an up-close look at a lab class.
BTI prepares unemployed and under-employed Maryland residents like Deric for good jobs in the rapidly expanding biotechnology industry.
At BTI, students are exposed to science in a way that is changing their careers, preparing them for in-demand jobs. pic.twitter.com/8Jnk5TBCom— US Labor Department (@USDOL) July 25, 2014
Then, Secretary Perez sits down for lunch with Deric.
Deric says that part of his motivation to acquire lab skills stemmed from his hope of one day working to discover a cure for cancer -- a diagnosis his mother had just received. His mother has sadly since passed away, but Deric credits her support with helping him succeed on his new career path.
Afterward, he joins business leaders for a roundtable discussion on jobs-driven training.
Secretary Perez rounds out the day with a "data jam" about how we can improve training programs like BTI's.
At the Data Jam, the Secretary engaged with technology leaders, innovative state labor and workforce experts, policy experts, and Baltimore-area students to identify new ideas for private-sector tools, services, and apps to improve the experience of young job seekers, like Deric. These tools will specifically help young people better understand career paths and options, understand impactful training opportunities, and explore new industries and occupations.
Data jams are a great vehicle for coming up w/ dynamic new ideas to improve our workforce system & grow our economy. #wkdev— Tom Perez (@LaborSec) July 25, 2014
"We need to help young people chart a course, find a career pathway that suits their abilities and interests." -@LaborSec at youth data jam— US Labor Department (@USDOL) July 25, 2014