Hilda SolisA public service career that started “almost as a lark” ends – at least for now – with the departure of Hilda S. Solis as U.S. Secretary of Labor.

In her farewell on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) blog, Solis listed the accomplishments of the department under her tenure:

  •  “We have funded more job training programs that have enhanced the skills of more than 1.7 million people.
  • We have conducted more wage and hour investigations and collected more back wages for more than 300,000 people.
  • We modernized Unemployment Insurance benefits so that it could provide a lifeline to more people.   
  • And—quite simply—and I say this with pride, satisfaction and immense gratitude: we have saved more workers’ lives.”

Solis also recounted how her “lifelong passion, and obvious excitement, for public service” began.

“While I was in graduate school, I filled out dozens of applications for internship positions at every level of government. Almost as a lark, I also sent a letter to the White House.  A staffer for President Carter read my résumé and called my parents’ home in La Puente, California. I was outside in our vegetable garden when my father hollered out to me: ‘Phone call for you. Someone who claims he’s from the Casa Blanca.’

Solis said she ran to the phone so fast that she knocked over a table lamp – a favorite of her mother’s – and shattered it. That phone call, of course, brought Solis to Washington for the first time.

Of her and her colleagues at the Labor Department, Solis said: “We don’t do what we do for the money, or the glory; we do it because public service is the very best way to make your own, unique contribution to the world. Leaders may change, circumstances may change, but our service must be constant. It forms an unbreakable bond between ourselves and our communities, our country and the people we care about.”

Seth D. Harris, the DOL's deputy secretary since May 2009, has been named acting Secretary of Labor.

Click here to read the blog post in its entirety.