Sharon Block is the Executive Director of Harvard University’s Labor and Worklife Program. She formerly served in the Obama Administration as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Labor and Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor.
Two months ago, I walked out of the Frances Perkins Building in Washington and helped turn off the lights on the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor. As the head of the Department’s policy office and Senior Counselor to Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, I left proud of what we had accomplished to expand opportunity for American workers. I was also acutely aware that much remained to be done.
My life and the condition of our country has changed a great deal during these past two months. I am thrilled to be embarking on a new professional journey here at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and honored to have the opportunity to work with Professors Richard Freeman and Ben Sachs, the program’s faculty directors. I am humbled by the responsibility of taking over the program that my remarkable predecessor, Elaine Bernard, so successfully built over the past 30 years and by the magnitude of the challenges facing American workers today.
I come to the Labor and Worklife Program committed to continuing its core mission: to take advantage of the unique Harvard University community to bring rigorous, creative and serious problem-solving efforts to meet today’s challenges and prepare for the opportunities of tomorrow. A key component of my commitment is to continue the proud tradition of the Harvard Trade Union Program. I believe that it is more important than ever, as the labor movement faces unprecedented challenges, that a new generation of leaders benefit from the unparalleled training that the HTUP has provided for 75 years.