FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 16, 2017) – The appointment of Deborah Williamson as the acting deputy commissioner for the Department of Workplace Standards was announced Tuesday by Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey.
“Deborah Williamson brings an enormous wealth of experience and knowledge to the Department of Workplace Standards,” Ramsey said. “Dr. Williamson has already made a huge impact on the Registered Apprenticeship program by authoring the grant application that secured $896,000 in federal funding. As a proven executive leader and educator, Dr. Williamson’s creative vision will help the department achieve its mission of advancing a well-trained workforce, protecting the worker and educating employers in workplace safety.”
Dr. Williamson was raised in Northern Kentucky and is a 1988 graduate of the University of Cincinnati. In 1989, she embarked on her distinguished career in public service by joining the Kentucky Court of Justice, Administrative Office of the Courts. From 1989-2011, Dr. Williamson served in various managerial and senior leadership capacities within the AOC, including as the General Manager of Juvenile Services, the Manager of Judicial Branch Education, and a Court Executive Officer overseeing five statewide departments serving elected judges and circuit court clerks.
During her tenure at the AOC, a dominant focus of her work involved education and strategic planning, working extensively with the National Association of State Judicial Educators and coordinating national law and civic education initiatives. While serving at the AOC, Williamson earned a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in sociology and education policy.
In January 2012, Williamson departed Kentucky to serve Chief Judge Judith K. Nakamura (now New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Nakamura) of the New Mexico Court of Appeals as the chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Court. In this capacity, Dr. Williams oversaw Metro’s sixteen departments and a staff approximating 300 for two years.
During her tenure, she was elected to the National Association of Court Management and secured competitive funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and SAMHSA for Metro’s Adult Drug Court. In 2014, Dr. Williamson was promoted to director of the Department of Public Education’s NMTEACH program. She also oversaw the department’s Title II formula grant totaling approximately fifteen-million dollars annually for purposes of instituting professional development for teachers, as well as working with the Council of Chief State School Officers on the nationally renowned Teacher of the Year Program.
In August of 2016, Williamson moved back to Kentucky to serve as an executive advisor for the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. Dr. Williamson’s contributions to the cabinet’s Registered Apprenticeship program were immediate. In two weeks’ time, she researched and authored its successful, competitive Registered Apprenticeship Expansion Grant application to the U.S. Department of Labor. The $896,000 in grant funding helped revive the Commonwealth’s registered apprentice program for businesses and industries in the state.
The Department of Workplace Standards administers the Commonwealth’s Registered Apprenticeship Program, enforces Kentucky’s wage and hour laws under KRS Chapter 337, and administers the state Occupational Safety and Health Program.