Cerron Cade has been nominated to lead the Delaware Department of Labor. It’s the one cabinet position not to have a confirmed secretary since the start of Carney’s administration last January.
If confirmed by the state Senate, Cerron Cade will move from his position as director of the Delaware Division of Small Business, Development and Tourism into a new job as Delaware’s Secretary of Labor.
“Cerron has a proven ability to lead, and the knowledge and experience necessary to take on this important role,” Delaware Gov. John Carney said. “The Department of Labor’s work connecting Delawareans with relevant job training and workforce development has never been more important.”
Cade will face a challenging Delaware labor market, where the unemployment rate has remained stubbornly stagnant while the national rate continued to show improvement. The state’s November unemployment rate stood at 4.7 percent.
Cade grew up in Washington, D.C. before moving to Delaware to study political science and law at Delaware State University. As acting director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, Cade oversaw the elimination of DEDO, which was replaced by the Division of Small Business, development and Tourism as part of the State Department. Cade stayed on as director of the new division.
“I am honored to be nominated,” Cade said. “Connecting Delaware businesses with skilled employees has been a large part of my focus as DEDO transitioned into the new Division.”
Cade takes over for Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, who was first nominated and unanimously confirmed by the state senators as labor secretary under Gov. Jack Markell in 2016. But when Carney took over for Markell in January 2017, he didn’t re-nominate Gilliam-Johnson. He didn’t nominate a replacement either.
Although she continued on in her role as labor secretary, Gilliam-Johnson’s position was in some sort of limbo. Last week, it was announced that she would leave the Dept. of Labor and take a job at Delaware State University. In a statement released by DSU, Carney said he planned to finally nominate Gilliam-Johnson at the start of this legislative session.
“My intention was to re-nominate Dr. Gilliam-Johnson for confirmation right at the start of this legislative session,” Gov. Carney said. “Patti has led the Department of Labor with distinction during a time where we have faced many challenges across state government and have been focused on the importance of building strong, inclusive environments where people feel valued and supported.”
She currently serves as the chairwoman of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and President of the Gilliam Foundation.
She is the daughter of the late James Gilliam Sr., a public official and civil rights leader in Delaware.