Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy
Neil Romano was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the second Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2008. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Mr. Romano advises the Secretary of Labor and works with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities.
Considered one of the nation’s leading authorities in the field of media and public advocacy, Mr. Romano has dedicated his career to the marketing of ideas and messages to help save lives and promote public policy. He founded Romano & Associates Inc., which produced highly visible and effective public awareness programs, as well as America’s Strength, through which he worked with industry to promote the importance of hiring individuals with disabilities.
Mr. Romano’s extensive professional background includes tenure as director of communications for the White House Office of Drug Abuse Policy. In that role, he worked on campaigns such as “Just Say No” and “America Responds to AIDS.” Mr. Romano also developed a film and supporting materials for the Department of Health and Human Services entitled “Youth Homicide: A Public Health Crisis.” The program identified youth homicide not only as a criminal justice system matter but as a significant health policy issue. For this film, Mr. Romano was nominated for an Emmy in the Best Producer category.
Mr. Romano has been a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. He also has served a number of diverse boards of directors, including those of the United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland, Oral Health America and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. Additionally, he has advised the Association for People in Supported Employment, the U.S. Business Leadership Network, and other disability employment groups which use a “business to business” approach to promote the imperative of hiring people with disabilities.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Mr. Romano graduated summa cum laude from New York University in 1976 before pursuing graduate studies at Brown University. He currently resides in Clarksville, Maryland with his wife, Barbara, and his daughters, Bianca and Christina.