Brooke Lucas of Atlanta, chief of staff for the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL), has been named one of Georgia Trend magazine’s “Forty Under Forty.” Each year, the magazine recognizes outstanding Georgians under the age of 40 representing business, government, politics, nonprofits, science, conservation and education.
Lucas, 33, joined the GDOL in January 2011, when newly elected State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler appointed her deputy commissioner for workforce development. In January 2012, Butler promoted her to chief of staff.
“Brooke has brought innovation, leadership, and her vast knowledge of economic development to this organization and is one of the architects of change for this department,” said Butler. “Through my years in public service, I have met many people from all walks of life across Georgia, and I can tell you that Brooke ranks in the very top.”
In her role as chief of staff, Lucas manages the day-to-day operations of the GDOL and acts as liaison between the labor commissioner’s office, the Governor’s Office, and the Georgia General Assembly. Also, she consults with state agencies and businesses on a myriad of labor and workforce issues.
Butler says Lucas has worked extensively to broaden the department’s focus on providing enhanced services to employers, who are vital to economic development and job creation.
She has helped lead the development of two units that are central to the way the GDOL provides services to jobseekers and employers – the Special Workforce Assistance Team (SWAT) and the Business Services Unit (BSU).
The SWAT is a grassroots effort designed to aid economically depressed areas of the state with high unemployment. SWAT staff work with communities to raise awareness of economic realities, develop and employ strategies to rebuild local economies, assist jobseekers in gaining the skills they need to become employed, and help employers hire skilled employees essential to their success.
Lucas also helped develop the new BSU, which strengthens GDOL labor exchange activities through new computer efficiencies and personalized services from specialized GDOL staff. The program is designed to help connect businesses with well-trained job seekers. The goal is to make Georgia more competitive in the global economy.
Lucas’ success is the result of the passion she has for her job. “The thing about economic and workforce development is that at the end of the day, the job is really about helping people find work to provide for their families,” she says. “You don’t have trouble falling asleep at night when you do that. I can’t imagine any more satisfying work.”
Prior to joining the GDOL, Lucas was an economic development project manager at the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, an association of 42 local EMCs throughout the state. Before that, she worked as a project manager for the Macon Economic Development Commission where she assisted in recruiting Kohl’s distribution center and Bass Pro Shops to Bibb County.
She is a member of the Georgia Economic Development Association (GEDA), Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), and the National Association for State Workforce Agencies (NASWA).
Lucas holds a bachelor of arts degree from Mercer University in Macon and is completing a master of business administration (MBA) degree from the University of Georgia in Athens.