Labor Secretary McMahon to retire

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McMahon-Photo
McMahon. Photo courtesy of Leadership Delaware.

Delaware Labor Secretary John McMahon announced he will retire. A nominee who will serve during the final year of Gov. Jack Markell’s term will be announced in coming days.

“John’s work has driven tremendous progress throughout the Department of Labor, while dealing with the unprecedented demands for department services during a time when so many workers needed assistance as a result of the Great Recession,” said Markell. “Importantly, he has also played a vital role in helping our state tap into the talents of groups who were too often unable to access the employment opportunities they deserved, from recently returning veterans to people with disabilities. I am grateful for John’s passionate service and wish him and his family the best in everything that comes next.”

McMahon was selected by Markell for the post after serving as the longtime head  of the Delaware Contractors Association. His career included a stint at Chrysler Corp.

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According to a release,  one of the  accomplishments of Secretary McMahon’s leadership involved the vast improvement of Delaware’s online resources to support workers in improving their resumes and identifying job openings, while assisting employers in finding well-qualified Delawareans to fill company needs.

Tens of thousands of workers have used these services, with more than 60 percent of Delawareans, who use the services of the Division of Employment and Training now gaining employment within 90 days. That’s up from 42 percent in June 2010.

Also cited was an online resume building application.

Other highlights included

  • Veterans: Unemployment rate for most recent returning veterans (age 18-34) has dropped from 14.5% (2010) to 5% (2014), following an intensive effort to engage the business community in considering these individuals.
  • From 2009 to 2014, the department’s Veterans Program experienced a 55% increase in positive employment outcomes for all veterans served and a 40% increase for disabled veterans.
  • People with Disabilities: The department has partnered with businesses statewide to help improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities and a recent study ranked Delaware first in getting youth receiving social security disability benefits into employment.
  • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s efforts to connect people with disabilities to employment opportunities resulted in benefits savings of $1.65 million in 2014, compared to less than $1 million before 2008.
  • Workplace Safety: The number of injuries and illnesses causing employees to miss work decreased by nearly 23 percent from 2008 to 2013, from 3,690 to 2,860.
  • During this time, the Department’s Division of Industrial Affairs has increased outreach to provide free workplace inspections to Delaware employers.

“It has been my highest honor to lead the Department of Labor and the truly dedicated and committed staff who worked tirelessly throughout the Great Recession,” said McMahon. “I am grateful to Governor Markell for this incredible experience and for the chance to be part of the dedicated efforts of so many state leaders to support our citizens through both recession and recovery. While it is not easy to leave the many Labor employees who work so hard every day on behalf of our state, this job demands a tremendous commitment, and I feel it is necessary to step down to have more time to spend with my family.”

The Labor Department’s resources were taxed during the recession of 2009 with the possibility that jobless rates could have risen above 10 percent.

Reforms were made to keep the unemployment compensation system solvent. However, the state continues to have among the lowest unemployment compensation payments in the nation.

 

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