Editor’s note: Leading up to Labor Day 2014, Secretary Tom Perez is traveling across the country to talk with Americans about how we can help more people succeed in the workplace and at home. Follow him along the way with live updates at www.dol.gov/LaborDay.

Back in March, Secretary Perez joined 15 long-term unemployed workers from the Cleveland area in a roundtable discussion about the challenges they were facing and what we can do to help. Five months later, he’s back in Cleveland to follow up with several of them.

Meet Lon, Harriet and Marielle.

Lon is a real estate professional and has been in the job market for the past 3 years. He has a bachelor’s degree and recently obtained his real estate license. He worked for the same company for 14 years but when the company relocated, he was laid off. At 53 years old, Lon wonders if his age or rate of compensation are limiting his ability to obtain full-time employment. Since meeting Secretary Perez in March, Lon’s unemployment benefits have run out. Lon has some savings, but they are quickly dwindling.

Harriet is a nonprofit manager who has been out of work since February 2012. She was last employed as a program director at a local community-based organization where she helped more than 5,000 at-risk youth and young adults transition to the workforce. Harriet considers herself “underemployed,” working as a part-time substitute teacher and retail worker at a home goods store.

Marielle has an MBA in marketing, finance and international business. She works in marketing but has been laid off 4 times since 2007 due to no fault of her own. She now worries that her job-hopping, age and level of experience are preventing her from landing a more stable job. Marielle wants to work – and needs to work – because her husband had to shut his business after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

This is the fourth of five “day in the life” visits Secretary Perez will be making this week during his travel across the country – a chance to talk directly with the people the Labor Department works for every day.

We want to make sure you see what he sees, too. Follow along for updates from his trip.

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