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Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Amy Pechacek has focused her career on public service, with an emphasis on government administration strategy, and crisis and risk management. Before joining DWD in September 2020, she served as Deputy Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and previously directed numerous public programs for Milwaukee County.
Amy's early efforts at DWD turned the tide on a backlog of unemployment insurance benefit claims that arose during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, through her leadership, the department is continuing its comprehensive modernization efforts – improving customer service with tools ranging from machine learning and multi-language translation to an ongoing overhaul of a decades-old mainframe system.
During her tenure, Wisconsin's economy has achieved record low unemployment, a record high number of jobs, and a labor force participation rate that has remained at least 2 percentage points above the national average. Thanks to Gov. Tony Evers' historic investment in workforce development, Amy has integrated strategic new initiatives with longstanding DWD programs to reduce employment barriers and address a worker quantity challenge arising from demographic trends that have been decades in the making.
She received her master's degree in public policy and public administration from Northwestern University and her undergraduate degree from UW-Madison in sociology and criminal justice. Amy is also a graduate of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service's Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia.
Pam was named the DWD Deputy Secretary in July 2021 and has been a member of DWD's leadership team since March 2019, serving a DWD's Chief Legal Counsel. As Chief Legal Counsel she managed DWD's Office of Legal Counsel and has overseen numerous high-level agency projects and personnel matters. She has served as the department's representative to the Governor's Task Force on Climate Change, the Governor's Task Force on Retirement Security, and the State Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and as the department's Tribal liaison.
Prior to joining DWD, Pam worked as an attorney at the Department of Health Services, advising the agency on personnel disputes, civil rights, and contract-related matters. Before her work for the state, Pam was a litigation attorney in private practice for over 16 years, most recently as a partner at McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC, a law firm dedicated to public service. Pam represented individuals and non-profit organizations seeking to remedy discrimination in employment and places of public accommodation, to correct constitutional wrongs for people arrested or imprisoned, and to protect our air and water through litigation.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School and received her undergraduate degree from UW-Madison in history. Pam grew up on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior and now resides in Madison.
DWD Assistant Deputy Secretary Jennifer Sereno joined the agency in July 2021 as communications director. She previously served as public affairs program manager at the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and strategic communications manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She also brings two decades of experience in the news business, including roles as business editor and assignment editor at the Wisconsin State Journal.
Jennifer holds undergraduate degrees in political science and journalism as well as a master's degree in journalism from UW–Madison. Her work has focused on advancing equity, opportunity, and sustainability. She welcomes opportunities to learn from customers, listen to stakeholders, and collaborate on solutions.