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About Iowa Workforce Development

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 IowaWORKS offices to provide services to Iowans in communities demonstrating need.


To create, enable and sustain the most future ready workforce in the nation.


Serving Iowans. 

Leadership Team

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 agency and its divisions, the Iowa Division of Labor and 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.

Picture of Ryan West

Deputy Director Ryan West

Ryan West joined Iowa Workforce Development in 2009, working in Unemployment Insurance. In 2019, Ryan assumed the role of Deputy Director where has held various process improvement responsibilities, including creating the Mission: Employable podcast in 2021 and hosted the first 150 episodes. Currently, Ryan provides support to each division within IWD and facilitates legislation. 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.


Division of Labor

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 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

For more information, visit the Iowa Division of Labor's website


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.

For more information, visit the Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation's website.

    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.