Secretaries of L&I
William L. Batt, Jr.
William L. Batt, Jr., was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 30, 1916. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1938 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following graduation, he served on the staffs of the Temporary National Economic Committee of the U.S. Department of Labor and Commerce, and the Office of Production Management in Washington, D.C. from 1938-1941. During this period he worked on economic analysis, government administration, and war mobilization issues. He was assistant to lend-lease expeditor Averell W. Harriman (future Governor of New York) at the U.S. Embassy in London in 1941.
During WWII he served in the U.S. Army stateside and in Africa and Europe in the infantry from 1942-1946. He rose to the rank of major and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Reconnaissance Francaise Medals.
In 1946, he was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress from the 17th Pennsylvania district. In the same year, he was an economic consultant with Robert Nathan Associates in Washington and Philadelphia. From 1947-1949 he was a sales representative with the Motor Parts Company in Philadelphia. During the 1948 presidential campaign, Batt was on a leave of absence from the company, while he served as research director for the Democratic National Committee. In 1949, he became special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor and served in that capacity until 1953, developing programs of federal economic assistance to areas of severe unemployment.
Batt represented the U.S. at the United Nations Economic and Social Council Conference on Full Employment in 1950. He became the senior economist on the President’s Commission on Foreign Economic Policy and served with the group in 1953 and 1954.
He has served as executive secretary of Toledo, Ohio, Industrial Development Council since 1954 and organized that community’s efforts to increase employment.
He was appointed Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry by Governor George Leader on March 4, 1957. He resigned the position in May 1961 to accept an appointment to the Area Redevelopment Administration from President John F. Kennedy.
From PA Manual, 1957-58.