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Interview with David Socolow

David Socolow was Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development throughout the entirety of Governor Corzine’s administration. Socolow had a strong background in politics and policy before serving as labor commissioner. After working on various campaigns for three years after college, Socolow worked for New Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews, first running his Washington, D.C. office and later as his chief of staff. In that time, he worked on a number of labor issues, including the Workforce Investment Act and the Higher Education Act. He left in 1999 to work at the U.S. Department of Labor as a senior advisor to the deputy secretary. After a stint as a legislative representative at the AFL-CIO, in 2002 Socolow left Washington to join the New Jersey Department of Labor in the administration of new Governor Jim McGreevey as director of unemployment insurance.

Socolow took over as acting commissioner of the department in January 2006, when Governor Corzine was inaugurated. In June 2006, he was confirmed as commissioner, a role he filled until the end of Governor Corzine’s term in January 2010. During his time as commissioner, Socolow worked on a number of labor issues, including workforce protection, disability insurance, unemployment insurance, and worker protection during the Great Recession. Socolow then entered the private sector, working as vice president of corporate affairs for Pinnacle Foods and later for the Center for Law and Social Policy, an organization working on workforce development and higher education policy. In 2018, Socolow returned to New Jersey when Governor Phil Murphy appointed him executive director of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, a position he held at the time of this interview.


Interview on June 20, 2019Transcript available here (pdf)