Robert Asaro-Angelo was sworn in as Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday. The governor tapped Asaro-Angelo for the Cabinet post in January, and the Senate confirmed him unanimously in March. A native New Jerseyan, Asaro-Angelo has a long and deep commitment to the working women and men of his home state, which began in the second grade when he walked the picket line with his teachers at Warnsdorfer Elementary School in East Brunswick. More recently, Asaro-Angelo spent 6 ½ years as the Eastern Region representative for the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama Administration, where he saw firsthand how the most successful workforce development programs and worker protection strategies were implemented in a 20-state region. “We look forward to bringing programs to New Jersey that have a proven and positive impact on workers and their communities,” said Asaro-Angelo. “The priorities of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development are rooted in the dignity that comes with family sustaining employment, with workers feeling safe, secure, and protected in the workplace.” Since being nominated by Gov. Murphy, Asaro-Angelo has been laying the foundation for collaborations with sister government agencies, partners in education, and stakeholders in the business community to meet our state’s workforce needs while ensuring the rights of New Jersey’s workers. One of the priorities in Gov. Murphy’s budget is NJ Apprenticeship Network, which expands apprenticeships beyond the successful construction trades model, and offers college credit to apprentices in such in-demand industries as advanced manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Asaro-Angelo also plans to address the Labor Department’s staff shortages, which have constrained service delivery to state residents seeking unemployment, temporary disability, and family leave benefits. The Department also will play a key enforcement role in the state’s new earned sick leave and equal pay legislation, and continues its role of ensuring worker protections and safety, and enforcing prevailing wage laws.