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This department has a new director

Great Seal of IowaGov. Terry E. Branstad today appointed Beth Townsend the director of Iowa Workforce Development.  Townsend has been serving as acting director of the department since Jan. 11, when former director Teresa Wahlert retired. Townsend previously served as director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

“As the Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Beth put in place work standards and accountability measures to ensure employees were no longer making up nasty nicknames for each other and using personal emails while at work,” said Branstad. “As director of Iowa Workforce Development, I’m confident Beth will vigorously work to continue our efforts to help job creators find a talented and capable workforce.”

“Beth shares our administration’s commitment to job creation and ensuring Iowa workers have the skills to fill the careers of tomorrow,” said Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “Beth’s dedication to public service and dedication to closing the middle-skills jobs gap will serve her well as the director of Iowa Workforce Development.”

Iowa Workforce Development contributes to the economic security of Iowa’s workers, businesses and communities through a comprehensive statewide system of employment services, education and regulation of health, safety and employment laws. The department aims to lead Iowa’s workforce by empowering workers and businesses to succeed in a dynamic global economy.

Townsend has worked in private practice at Townsend Law Office, where she represented individuals before the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, federal and state jurisdictions in the area of civil rights and employment law. Before moving to Iowa, Townsend spent over 11 years as a Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force where she served in a variety of positions including as a prosecutor and a defend counsel of airmen in trials by courts-martial.  As a reservist, Townsend finished her service as a Military Trial Judge.  She retired in 2010 after almost 21 years of service.

Townsend earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Nebraska-Kearney and a Juris Doctor degree from University of Nebraska. Townsend resides in Granger, Iowa. She has one son.

Townsend’s appointment is effective immediately and is subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.