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U.S. Assistant Secretary Oates to Speak at BCC Commencement
by Christina L. Barrett, Director of Marketing & PR
May 7, 2010

PITTSFIELD, MA - U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Jane Oates will be the featured speaker during Berkshire Community College's 50th Commencement Exercises.

Oates, who was confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training last June, leads the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) in its mission to design and deliver high-quality training and employment programs for the nation's workers. The ETA works with States and territories, municipalities, labor management organizations, employers, educational institutions, fellow Federal agencies, and other partners to help workers gain the skills and credentials needed to enter careers that offer opportunities for advancement while paying enough to support a family.

"Given the economic climate here in Berkshire County and the region's ever-critical need for skilled workforce, Assistant Secretary Oates' remarks will be both timely and relatable for our graduates," said Paul E. Raverta, president.

Prior to her appointment as a member of Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis' leadership team, Oates served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Senior Advisor to Governor Jon Corzine. In that position, she worked to strengthen the connections among high school, post-secondary education, and the workforce. Oates also served for nearly a decade as Senior Policy Advisor for Senator Edward M. Kennedy and worked closely with the Senator on various education, workforce and national service legislative initiatives, including the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Because of this previous experience, she is regarded as one of the foremost authorities in the country of higher education, specifically community college. She understands the important and critical role community colleges play in workforce development.

Oates began her career as a teacher in the Boston and Philadelphia public schools and later as a field researcher at Temple University's Center for Research in Human Development and Education. She has a bachelor's degree in education from Boston College, and master's degree in reading from Arcadia University.

BCC's 50th Commencement will be held Friday afternoon, June 4, beginning at 4:30 PM at Tanglewood in Lenox.

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