By Dar Danielson (Radio Iowa)
Iowa Workforce Development launched a new Business Engagement Division Monday.
IWD director, Beth Townsend, says they’re hoping it will make it easier for employers to access state resources. “The idea is that we want to provide a one stop shop for Iowa’s employers to help meet all of their workforce needs,” she says. Townsend says the workforce system can be a little complex, and it is scattered over several different areas.
“We’ve never had anything like this in Iowa….workforce programs are scattered across a number of different agencies, and we’re trying to bring some of those to the workforce, and then the others will just help you navigate the system. But we’ve never had a business engagement team in the agency that was focused entirely upon helping businesses,” she says. She says they have had business marketing specialists in the past who have met with employers and worked with them.
Townsend says they hope this is a more strategic and more concentrated effort as they head out across the state to meet with business owners. “To introduce ourselves, if we don’t already know you, to remind you of the resources we have available to help with employers’ workforce needs, to help them navigate the workforce system in Iowa, because it can be a little complex,” according to Townsend.
She says the new division will be led by administrator Tim Goodwin and deputy administrator Kathy Anderson. Both have previous business experience and come from outside the agency.”If you’re not in the system and you’re looking at it from the outside, sometimes you have a better view of things that we could be doing to improve services,” Townsend says. “And they certainly brought that to the table.”
Townsend says they will listen and adapt as they visit more businesses. “We plan to every, you know, two or three weeks in this period of time, where we’re going out meeting with employers getting back together and, and digesting the feedback that we’re getting,” she says.
Townsend says they have a new customer service number for employers to call. That number is 1-833-469-2967.