Labor secretary learned early about importance of good workers

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Delia Garcia knows how important having a qualified workforce is to a business. She grew up and worked in a family restaurant, Connie’s Mexico Café in Wichita. She also learned the importance of good customer service.

Garcia was the featured speaker at the monthly meeting of the Congressional Forum Friday, May 17, at Children’s Mercy Park. The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the forum.

Gov. Laura Kelly appointed Garcia as Kansas secretary of labor earlier this year. The Kansas Senate confirmed the appointment 38-1.

Garcia, 42, served in the Kansas House from 2005 until 2010, representing the 103rd District in Wichita. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wichita State University and a Master of Arts degree from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. She also worked as a professor at Butler County Community College, El Dorado, Kansas. She was a member of the Kansas Democratic Caucus.

The Kansas Department of Labor administers unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, employment standards and industrial health and safety. The agency also records statistics for the state of Kansas labor market, keeping tract of employment and unemployment data, noting information by industry and wages. Labor force needs also are forecast.

Garcia said her agency also works with the Kansas departments of commerce and education to help assure that there is an adequate and well-trained workforce. She also said she works with the Department of Corrections to help train those who are incarcerated.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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