About Labor & Industry
The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) employs more than 5,000 workers in 200 offices statewide. Established in 1913, the department originally inspected the working conditions in factories around the state. Over time, the department's responsibilities expanded.
L&I administers benefits to unemployed individuals, oversees the administration of workers' compensation benefits to individuals with job related injuries, and provides vocational rehabilitation to individuals with disabilities. The department prepares job seekers for the global workforce through employment and job training services for adult, youth, older workers, and dislocated workers. In addition, L&I enforces various laws and safety standards in the workplace and administers the commonwealth's programs for community service by young Pennsylvanians.
L&I also promotes economic development and an improved business climate through a variety of initiatives and programs to help Pennsylvania's workforce remain world-class and globally competitive.
W. GERARD “JERRY” OLEKSIAK, SECRETARY
W. Gerard “Jerry” Oleksiak is the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.
Before joining L&I on Sept. 5, 2017, Jerry most recently served as president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) – the largest professional association in the commonwealth. Prior to becoming president in 2015, he served as PSEA vice president, treasurer, and as a member of the board of directors.
Jerry is especially proud of the more than three decades he spent as a classroom teacher, most of that time as a special education teacher at the Upper Merion Area School District in King of Prussia. He also served as president of the Upper Merion Area Education Association (UMAEA).
Throughout his career, Jerry has collaborated with employers, employees, and community groups in order to create partnerships that benefit all stakeholders.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Jerry graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and a teaching certificate in social studies in 1974. Several years later, Jerry earned a Master's degree in Education from Saint Joseph's, and worked to earn his special education certification through LaSalle University.
Jerry lives in Glenside, Pa. with his wife. They have been married for more than 40 years and have three children and two grandchildren.