As we look back on 2015, here are some of our most photogenic accomplishments:
Jan. 29: Secretary Perez helps with the annual Point-in-Time Count in Tucson, Arizona. The national one-night count of all people experiencing homelessness takes place every January and is an important tool for ending homelessness.
Jan. 29: Community colleges like Pima Community College Aviation Technology Center, are the secret sauce to America’s workforce system. Many aviation students have a job lined up even before graduation. Here, Secretary Perez chats with a student.
Feb. 26: Carol Pier, deputy undersecretary for international affairs, meets with a family at a community center in Honduras that provides livelihood and education services. A Labor Department-funded project, Brilliant Futures, will extend similar services throughout the country to help workers and their families.
March 8: The 50th anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, was a reminder that − as Rep. John Lewis has said − sometimes it’s necessary to get into some “good trouble” to make sure America lives up to its promise when it comes to civil rights and labor rights.
May 14: Pi Pizzeria in Miami, a successful company that pays workers above the minimum wage, understands that investing in workers is also good for business. Secretary Perez shows off the pizza that Kitchen Manager Freddie Melgar (left) taught him how to make.
April 24: Rhode Island is one of a handful of states with paid family leave policies. Anne and Griffin Quirk told Secretary Perez that their state’s policies were a lifesaver when their son Kiernan was born premature.
March 16: National Job Corps Director Lenita Jacobs-Simmons meets with students at the Potomac Job Corps Center in Washington, D.C. The Job Corps program embodies the core American value that no matter who you are or where you come from, you should have the opportunity to succeed. (Photo credit: Ken Cedeno.)
July 21: During a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, former Sen. Tom Harkin teaches the audience how to sign “America.” Harkin was instrumental in the passage of the act.
Aug. 18: During a tour of Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Secretary Perez tries out a bike in the Harley Davidson Robotics Lab. The school’s seven-week program gives students entry-level robotics maintenance technician skills to fill in-demand jobs with starting salaries around $18 an hour.
Aug. 18: Many businesses welcome an increase in the minimum wage, including Nebraska’s Lozier Corp., a shelving and fixture manufacturer that starts employees at $14.54 per hour. They know that higher wages mean happier, more productive employees who stay on the job longer, which reduces turnover costs.
Aug. 20: Instructor Emerson Hill (left) at the Camden, New Jersey, YouthBuild center teaches students Troy Mathes and Maliek Sullivan a useful skill: how to install a toilet! $76 million in new YouthBuild grants will help more students like them across the country gain job skills for in-demand fields.
Oct. 31: Mine rescue team members administer first aid to a severely “injured” miner during a training exercise conducted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration at the Central Plains Cement Co. in Sugar Creek, Mo. Mine rescue is dangerous work and we salute these “heroes beneath the earth.”
Nov. 5: At the our annual Salute to Veterans ceremony, disabled veteran Timothy Kirkendall Jr. pledges to #SupportVets through his work as a job development specialist for Paralyzed Veterans of America. Learn more about how the department helps veterans and transitioning service members.
... And just for fun ...
“I was honored to meet Pedro Martinez. But given the opportunity, I had to be that embarrassing dad,” said Secretary Tom Perez, who presented Martinez with the 2015 Sports Honoree award at the 28th Hispanic Heritage Awards Ceremony on Sept. 17.
Check out some of our other favorite moments from 2015 and our top 10 blog posts. And to keep up with the Labor Department in 2016, make sure you're following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!