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Democrats: Workforce Centers Should Stay Open

After Governor Branstad announced a plan to close 39 workforce centers across Iowa, Democrats in the Legislature vowed to work to keep the offices open.|(From Rep. Sharon Steckman)

After Governor Branstad announced a plan to close 39 workforce centers across Iowa, Democrats in the Legislature vowed to work to keep the offices open.

The workforce centers are a valuable resource for out of work Iowans as well as businesses looking for skilled workers. The centers provide job search and placement assistance, interview skills workshops, and claims assistance. The centers also support local businesses by referring job seekers to available openings and matching job seeker experience with job requirements.

The Branstad plan would close 39 of the state’s 55 workforce offices, mostly in rural areas, and eliminate 100 positions. Instead, Iowa libraries and volunteers would be trained to assist Iowans seeking employment. Opponents of the plan expressed concerns about the ability of public libraries to handle the needs of Iowans seeking job assistance and say it will reduce access to job services in local communities.

In 2010, workforce offices served 247,598 individuals, including 18,397 veterans.

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