About Iowa Workforce Development

Iowa Workforce Development Leadership Team

IWD is a state agency committed to providing employment services for individual job seekers through our IowaWORKS partnership. Employers and businesses can post jobs, hire veterans and apply for qualifying federal tax credits. IWD continually strives to improve processes and align the organization in such a way to provide effective, demand-driven products and services. IWD staff in Des Moines consists of administrative, labor services, workers’ compensation, labor market information, and the unemployment insurance services staff. The agency also maintains a statewide delivery system of 15 regional IowaWORKS centers. Additionally, 16 satellite expansion offices provide services to Iowans in communities demonstrating need.


    Picture of Director Townsend

    Director Beth Townsend

    Director Townsend has general supervision over the various services IWD provides to Iowans. The director prepares, administers, and controls the budget of the department and its divisions along with Michael A. Mauro who is the Division of Labor Commissioner and Joseph S. Cortese II who is the Division of Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.

    Director Townsend was appointed by Gov. Branstad and confirmed by Iowa Senate unanimously March 24, 2015. She previously served as the Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Director Townsend served in the Air Force Reserve and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years of active and reserve duty.


    This is a picture of Myron Linn

    Deputy Director - Myron Linn

    Linn joined IWD in October 2016. As Deputy Director, Linn provides general oversight and direction for IWD. Linn has extensive experience in the private sector holding leadership and government relations positions. Linn served in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 25 years of service.


    Picture of Paul Mikkelsen

    Chief Financial Officer - Paul Mikkelsen

    Paul Mikkelsen joined IWD in August 2010 bringing with him 29 years of financial and insurance experience. Mikkelsen attended Drake University for his Master of Business Administration and received his undergraduate degrees from the University for Iowa and Drake University. 

    Administrative Services Division

    The Administrative Services Division provides a variety of services to keep the agency operating smoothly and to assist employees working in the IWD administrative offices. Key administrative support functions provided:

    • employee services
    • building management
    • office services
    • printing services
    • financial reporting
    • accounting

    Picture of Emily Chafa

    Unemployment Insurance Appeals Bureau Manager - Emily Chafa

    Emily Chafa is an experienced Administrative Law Judge with IWD and the Administrative Hearings Division for the Department of Inspections and Appeals. Chafa joined IWD in July 2015 and brings both public and private practice experience. Her experience includes the misclassification Unit of IWD, deputy director of Litigation for Iowa Legal Aid, assistant city attorney for City of Des Moines, prosecutor of Cook County State's Attorney's Office and associate attorney at Hinshaw and Culbertson in Chicago.

    Unemployment Insurance Appeals Division

    IWD’s administrative law judges hear and decide administrative appeals regarding unemployment insurance benefits.


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    Information Technology Division Administrator & Labor Market Information Director - Cathy Ross

    Cathy Ross joined IWD in January 2016. Prior to working for IWD Ross worked as an IT consultant where she was responsible for IT strategic planning and project management services. Previously, Ross was the president and co-owner of an Iowa based technology company. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Iowa State University.

    Information Technology Division

    The information technology office and the project management office are the responsibility of the Information Technology Division. These two offices operate under unified leadership and aligns agency resources to develop and implement business solutions. Initiatives include modernization of all legacy systems, virtualization of computing infrastructure and website development.

    Labor Market Information Division

    The Labor Market Information (LMI) Division collects, analyzes and prepares a wide array of labor market data including the unemployment rate, employment levels, industry and occupational statistics, wages, projections, trends and other workforce characteristics for the State of Iowa as a whole as well as for other defined geographic areas within the State. It is the mission of the Labor Market Information Division to produce and deliver information in a reliable and timely manner in order to inform data-driven decisions for business, career, educational programming and economic development.


    Picture of Michael A. Mauro

    Labor Commissioner - Michael A. Mauro

    Michael A. Mauro was appointed by Gov. Branstad and confirmed by the Iowa Senate May of 2011. Mauro was the former Iowa Secretary of State and Polk County Auditor/Commissioner of Elections. During his service he received the "Distinguished Service Award" from the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa in 2008 for ensuring all blind Iowans have access to an accessible voting machine. Mauro received a teaching degree from Drake University and formerly taught high school government.

    Division of Labor Services

    The Labor Services Division is responsible for the administration of state and federal statutes related to public health, safety and workplace issues. Iowa’s Occupational Safety and Health Act administration is located within the division. With an emphasis on voluntary compliance through education and preventive services, the Labor Services Division continues to implement the vision of creating a “culture of safety” throughout Iowa’s labor force.


    Workforce Services Division

    IowaWORKS Division Administrator - Vacant

    The IowaWORKS Division delivers services in 15 onestop offices and 16 satellite locations. IowaWORKS centers provide the customer with a single source for employment and training services and information such as searching for jobs and filing UI benefit claims. The Business Services team provides resources and tools for employers to recruit and retain talented employees.


    Picture of Courtney Greene

    Operations Division Administrator - Courtney Greene

    Courtney Greene was hired as Communications Director and promoted in late 2016 to Operations Division Administrator. Greene brings to IWD both public and private sector experience as she has worked for TV news sources in both Des Moines and Kansas City, served as the Governor's press secretary and Department of Public Safety as public information bureau chief, worked in public relations at Wellmark, and was the vice president for enrollment and communications at AIB College of Business. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Communication Studies from University of Iowa.

    Operations Division

    The Operations Division oversees workforce services which includes Title 1 serving adult, youth and dislocated workers and PROMISE JOBS helping low-income Iowans. Other programs include: services for employers and job seekers, Foreign Trade Adjustment Assistance, State Monitor Advocate, Migrant Seasonal Farm Workers, Foreign Labor Certification, Rapid Response and Veterans Services/Home Base Iowa. IWD Communications, Registered Apprenticeships and grants also fall under the Operations Division. 


    Picture of Ryan West

    Unemployment Insurance Division Administrator - Ryan West

    Ryan West joined IWD in June 2009 serving in the Claims Bureau where he oversaw claims processing, training, adjudication and customer service. West is a member of the Integrity Center Steering Committee for the National Association of State Agencies. He worked as a Flight Deck Director on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, where he was responsible for more than 10,000 launch and recovery missions. He has his Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Simpson College. 

    Unemployment Insurance Division

    The UI Division collects unemployment insurance taxes, maintains the Iowa Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund and makes payments to eligible jobless Iowans. In 2016, the division made enhancements to improve customer service and streamline processes.


    This is a picture of Joseph S. Cortese II

    Workers' Compensation Commissioner - Joseph S. Cortese II

    Appointed by Gov. Branstad and confirmed by Iowa Senate April of 2015. Cortese brings to Iowa Workforce Development 34 years of private practice experience with Huber Law Firm where he specialized in workers' compensation and personal injury law. Cortese Received his law degree from Drake University and undergraduate degrees in journalism, history and political science from Indiana University.

    Division of Workers' Compensation

    The Workers’ Compensation Division performs three core functions: adjudicating disputed workers compensation claims, enforcing compliance standards, and educating Iowans about workers compensation law and procedures.


      Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Policy Statement

      The Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy Statement is provided for review.