Iowa Workforce Development entered a new era this week, with three new programs joining the agency as part of a broad state government realignment approved by Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature earlier this year.

The changes, which took effect July 1, are part of a longstanding effort to consolidate similarly oriented state programs within agencies that have the best resources and expertise to manage them. In IWD’s case, this means that a broad range of efforts to help Iowans succeed in the workforce now will be placed under unified leadership for the first time.

Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development, believes the realignment will open new doors for IWD to increase the level of assistance available to all Iowans.

“Bringing everybody under the same umbrella gives us the opportunity to find new ways to work together more efficiently and more quickly from the standpoint of the customer,” Townsend said. “Iowa has many tools available to help people prepare for a new career, but job seekers can’t take full advantage of those programs if they don’t know what’s available.

“We exist to serve Iowans,” she said. “This realignment gives us the chance to redefine how we help by making certain that everyone who wants a job can get access to the services he or she needs to succeed.”

Effective July 1:

  • Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, an agency focused on helping Iowans with disabilities obtain or advance employment, has moved from the Iowa Department of Education to become a new division inside IWD.
  • Adult Education & Literacy programming also has moved to IWD from the Department of Education, as well as the state’s HiSET High School Equivalency testing program.
  • Meanwhile, the Iowa Divisions of Labor and Worker’s Compensation have left IWD to become part of the newly renamed Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licensing.

Most Iowans should see little immediate effect of the realignment other than the way agency names are reflected on state websites, Townsend said. IVRS clients will receive the same quality service from the same counselors, and IowaWORKS job center will continue to offer the same workforce services – although IowaWORKS center that don’t currently have and IVRS presence could get one in the near future.

For more information about the incoming agencies, visit IWD’s realignment website.