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From Scandal to Success at Training Agency

December 21, 2007

Des Moines, IA – Just over a year after the troubled the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium was given a new name and put firmly back on the straight and narrow, its director says the agency is now providing services to the unemployed the way it should be done.

Late last year, state government was rocked by an unfolding pay scandal at the Consortium, where top officials were getting outlandish salaries. Des Moines Area Community College took over the agency and it was renamed Iowa Employment Solutions. Its director, Michael Wilkinson, says the new management has nearly doubled the number of people served, and at a lower cost.

"In the first year we served 308 individuals and we dedicated nearly two and a half times the amount of money directly to client services."

Wilkinson predicts additional improvements in 2008.

"We spent a lot of time developing infrastructure this past year. This coming year is about making progress in our programs, serving more people and serving them as efficiently as we possibly can."

Wilkinson says the first major new initiative was to develop a special program with Iowa Workforce Development to serve workers displaced from Maytag/Whirlpool when the appliance makers downsized. He says the program included skills evaluation, job counseling, retraining and referrals.

Dick Layman/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IA