A Day in the Life: Deric

Meet Deric.

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 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. “Job-driven” means training that provides 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 will be taking over the next few months – 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.

Meeting Deric.
Deric meets Secretary Perez outside BTI, where he received the training that launched his career as a manufacturing associate at Paragon.

Training in Action.
BTI prepares unemployed and under-employed Maryland residents – like Deric – for good jobs in the rapidly expanding biotechnology industry. Deric described the training as rapid teaching, saying that he started feeling a lot more confident from day 1. “I still apply everything I learned,” Deric told the Secretary.

Lunch with Deric.
Part of Deric’s 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. Unfortunately, she passed away – but he credits her support with helping him succeed in his new career path. His advice to other people out of work or looking to change careers: “I always said, if you can find something you like to do, give it a try. Don’t give up, don’t shortchange yourself. I never knew I’d be in the biotech field, you never know until you try.”

Roundtable Discussion.

Data Jam.
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.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Wow, Deric is a busy man! I believe the “job-driven” training is effective. Keep up the good work!

    Mike Smith
    Vice President

  2. Good articel. Fill inspiring for me

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