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April 5, 2013

The former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Hilda Solis, was in San Diego recently and presented at a UC San Diego event honoring César Chávez’s life and impact. From his life we can see that perseverance and collaboration accomplishes great things. 

Hilda Solis is also making an impact by advocating for working families. The third of seven children, she was raised in a modest home just east of Los Angeles. Her mother worked in a toy factory and her father worked in a battery recycling plant where he contracted lead poisoning.

Hilda Solis has had many “firsts”. She was the first of her family to go to college, the first Latina elected to the California state senate, and the first woman to win the Profiles in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. In Congress, she was the first Latina to become a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the first Latina presidential cabinet member under the Obama Administration. 

As Labor Secretary, she led the Department of Labor during a period of high unemployment and complex worker issues, catalyzed by the recession. She was also responsible for advancements in fair employment practices. 

Peter Callstrom, our President & CEO had the opportunity to meet with Hilda during the event and discussed the future of the Workforce Investment Act and how to expand summer employment opportunities. “Our country has been fortunate to have had such a progressive and caring leader at the Department of Labor in addition to her numerous public service leadership roles,” says Callstrom. 


*Cover photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

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