Joan saw first-hand at home and in the neighbourhood where she grew up that a good-paying job is most effective way to get ahead in life. So, job creation has consistently been her top priority in Dáil Éireann by laying the foundation for the kind of economic growth that benefits working families, not just the stock market.
As Minister for Social Protection she drove the transformation of that Department into an active employment agency that helped expedite the remarkable recovery in employment of recent years.
One of her first acts as Minister was to reverse the cruel cut in the minimum wage and to create the Low Pay Commission that reviews that minimum wage every year.
She has been a strong supporter of apprenticeships for young people not just in the traditional trades but in a much wider range of fields that are open to young women as well.
Joan knows from her own personal experience how important a strong public education system is to building strong families as well as a successful economy.