Iowa Workforce Development
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, 4 satellite, and 8 expansion offices to provide services to Iowans in communities demonstrating need.
To create, enable and sustain the most future ready workforce in the nation.
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 agency and its divisions along with Rod Roberts, Commissioner of the Division of Labor and Joseph S. Cortese, II, Commissioner of the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Director Townsend has been in her current position since 2015 when she was first appointed by Governor Branstad and unanimously confirmed by the Iowa Senate on March 24, 2015. Director Townsend was reappointed by Governor Reynolds in January, 2019, and again confirmed by the Iowa Senate. Director Townsend 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.
Deputy Director Ryan West - Unemployment insurance and support
Ryan joined Iowa Workforce Development in 2009. In 2019, Ryan assumed the role of Deputy Director where he oversees support, legislation and hosts the Iowa Workforce Development Mission: Employable podcast! Ryan is a Veteran of the United States Navy where he worked as Flight Deck Director on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S Abraham Lincoln.
Ryan holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business Management from Simpson College and is a lifelong resident of Iowa.
Deputy Director Sherri Behrendt - Employment and training
Sherri joined IWD in June of 2022 as Deputy Director of Employment and Training. In this role, she oversees the American Job Centers, Workforce Services, IWD’s new Business Engagement Division, and the new Workforce Training and Education Division. Sherri brings a wealth of private sector experience to IWD with 14 years of executive-level management roles, including President and CEO at Vantec, Inc., a Midwest manufacturer of custom molded products for appliances, heavy equipment, automobiles, and more. Most recently, Sherri served as Managing Director of Vantec and Vice President of Sales for Angstrom Global, a full-service automotive and industrial original equipment manufacturer.
Sherri has been a member of the Young Presidents Organization, National Association of Manufacturers, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, and has served on a number of appointed board positions in Iowa. She is a 2021 Women of UNI Business Hall of Fame Honoree.
Labor Commissioner - Rod Roberts
Rod Roberts was appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds to serve as labor commissioner effect March 1, 2019. He previously served as the director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals for eight years. Roberts also served in the Iowa House of Representatives for 10 years. A native Iowan, he was born in Waverly and raised in Zearing.
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.
The office of the Labor Commissioner was created by the General Assembly in 1884. The Division of Labor provides a broad range of services to constituents and businesses of Iowa. The Labor Division is responsible for the enforcement of programs designed to protect the safety, health and economic security for all Iowans. The Labor Division strives to develop outreach to educate employers on all facets of the Labor Division. The following services are managed by the Labor Division:
- Amusement Ride Inspections
- Athletic Commission
- Asbestos Permit & Licensing
- Boiler Inspection
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Child Labor & Wage Enforcement
- Contractor Registration
- Elevator and Escalator Inspections
- Iowa OSHA Consultation
- Iowa OSHA Enforcement
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. The Workers’ Compensation Law was enacted by the General Assembly in 1913. The law provides medical services and wage replacement benefits to workers who sustain injuries arising out of and in the course of their employment. The Workers’ Compensation Law is administered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation under the direction of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Iowa was one of the first states to provide such benefits for injuries, occupational diseases, and occupational hearing losses sustained by workers. Injuries resulting in death, permanent disability, or temporary disability must be reported to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. If a compensation agreement cannot be reached, the employee may file a Petition for a contested case and request a hearing before a Deputy Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Deputy Commissioner decisions are first reviewed on appeal to the Commissioner, may be appealed beyond the Commissioner first to the district court and then to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Policy Statement
The Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy Statement and supporting documents are provided for review.