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Breakout Moderator Biography

Alexis M. Herman
Department of Labor

Since she was sworn-in May 1, 1997 as the nation's 23rd Secretary of Labor and the first African American to head the department, Alexis Herman has led the U.S. Department of Labor focusing its work on three goals: a prepared workforce, a secure workforce and a quality workplace.

Before joining President Clinton's Cabinet, Secretary Herman served in the administration as assistant to the President and director of the White House Public Liaison Office. In 1992, she served as the deputy director of the Presidential Transition Office.

As founder and president of A.M. Herman & Associates, she advised state and local governments, as well as private corporations during the 1980's. An expert on reducing and eliminating formal and informal labor market barriers, she guided corporations on human resources issues related to training, mentoring and reducing turnover.

Secretary Herman first joined government during the Carter Administration. Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall recruited her to serve as director of the Women's Bureau, a Senate confirmed position in which she became a trusted advisor to Secretary Marshall on workplace policy. Previously, she was National Director of the Minority Women Employment Program of R-T-P, Inc. in Atlanta, where she established programs to place minority women in white-collar and nontraditional jobs.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Herman began her career as a Catholic Charities social worker, developing training opportunities for unemployed youth, unskilled workers and new entrants to the Mobile labor force at Ingall's Shipbuilding, Inc., in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans in 1969.

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