Biden taps Boston mayor for labor secretary

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is President-elect Joe Binden's choice for U.S. labor secretary. (Photo: Office of Mayor Marty Walsh)

President-elect Joe Biden is nominating Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to serve as U.S. labor secretary.

Walsh is in his second term as mayor and has deep ties to labor unions. Before being elected Boston’s mayor in 2013, he served as a state representative for 17 years and led the Boston Building Trades Council, which represents union construction workers. While there, he created Building Pathways, a pre-apprenticeship program that has become a model for increasing diversity in the workplace and providing career opportunities for women and people of color.

As mayor, Walsh has also championed broader access to education. In 2016, he unveiled Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College Plan, which covers three years of tuition and mandatory fees for low-income eligible students, after Pell grants are applied. Currently, Bunker Hill Community College, Massasoit Community College, MassBay Community College and Roxbury Community College are among the six education institutions participating in the program, which is funded by the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, a public charitable trust that collects fees from large commercial developers in the city.

Several community college advocates noted that Walsh understands the role two-year colleges play in training individuals for jobs and careers.

“So excited that you will carry your understanding of community colleges as the engine of workforce development to WDC,” Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College, posted on Twitter Thursday.

Massachusetts’ two Democratic senators also lauded the nomination.

“His tremendous leadership in Boston on climate action, health care, and social justice make him ready on day 1,” Sen. Ed Markey said of Walsh on Twitter.

About the Author

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