Senate OKs new ED, DOL assistant secretaries

The Senate on Thursday confirmed two officials with previous federal experience to oversee federal offices with programs affecting community colleges.

Bob King

Bob King is now the Education Department’s (ED) assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education, and John Pallasch is assistant secretary for the Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor (DOL).

King began working at ED last year as a senior adviser. Before that, he was president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Previously, King was president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation — a statewide charitable foundation with a strong focus on education, economic development and scientific research — and chancellor of the State University of New York system, one of the largest comprehensive systems of universities, colleges and community colleges in the U.S.

King also worked as a district attorney in San Luis Obispo, California, and Rochester, New York, before serving three terms in the New York State Legislature. In addition, he served in the New York governor’s office as budget director and director of the Office of Regulatory Reform.

King was appointed by President George W. Bush to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, where he served for nine years.

Washington experience

John Pallasch

Pallasch, who is currently the workforce chief in Kentucky, also has ties to President Bush, having served as DOL’s mine health and safety chief. In his new post, Pallasch will oversee the office in charge of many federal job training and assistance programs, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs and apprenticeship programs.

Pallasch joined the presidential campaign of George W. Bush in 2000 and stayed with Bush at DOL for both terms. He served for more than five years as a special assistant, and another two years as the deputy assistant secretary for the Mine Health and Safety Administration.

Pallasch then joined education reformer Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C., and in 2012 joined her in California where she started the nonprofit StudentFirst as its director of implementation and then as human resources director.

Since April 2017, Pallasch has served as the executive director of employment and training for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R).

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.