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Capitol Digest: State announces jobs available

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A roundup of state government and Capitol news items of interest for Tuesday:

DES MOINES -- Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that more than 80,000 jobs are available on IowaWORKS.gov website that launched last month.

The employment services system set up by the Iowa Workforce Development provides a variety of employment resources, tools and services to meet the needs of customers, employers and IowaWORKS staff members, according to the department. Job postings can be sorted by categories such as county, industry or business.

“IowaWORKS.gov is a customer-focused system that helps employers and job seekers find and post-employment opportunities around the state,” said IWD Director Beth Townsend. “Our recently modernized system provides more accurate information, and we know now that our reporting is consistent with what we have heard around the state about what 2.4 percent unemployment looks like.

“As a web-based resource, the newly modernized IowaWORKS.gov allows us to have greater connections with our customers, anytime and anywhere.”

Reynolds highlighted the new system during her weekly news conference. The event was held at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines to recognize UnityPoint Health as one of the employers with the most openings on IowaWORKS.gov with more than 500 job postings.

“There are more than 80,000 job openings across the state of Iowa, and it underscores the strength of our labor market,” Reynolds said. “Companies, like UnityPoint Health, are looking for skilled workers in high-demand industries like health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and more.

“Future Ready Iowa is playing a critical role in upskilling Iowans so they can access the cutting-edge careers available. Taken together, this growing and vibrant economy has created an environment for success.”

Civil rights head

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she has named Kaitlin Smith as acting executive director for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission while she interviews candidates to fill a post vacant since interim leader Linda Grathwohl stepped down last week.

Smith is administrative supervisor at the commission.

Grathwohl sent the governor a letter July 11 indicating her last day in the interim position would be July 25.

Asked about the resignation, the governor told reporters “that happens in jobs and companies all across the state. People transition in and out. We’re no different.”

The governor said her focus now is “finding the right person” to guide an agency, which handles complaints concerning discrimination and harassment in employment, education, public accommodation, credit and housing.

Marketing fraud

A Polk County judge has shut down several Quad Cities-based advertising companies accused of defrauding small businesses across the nation, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office.

District Judge Robert Hansen granted a temporary injunction sought by Miller against owner Alphonso Barnum of Davenport, several of his associates and 10 companies, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The injunction bars the defendants from conducting any business activity involving telemarketing and the sale of advertising and promotional items.

Miller’s lawsuit alleged the defendants violated the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act by using deception, confusion and high-pressure tactics to sell advertisements for direct-mail pieces and promotional items, such as high school sports posters and city information guides. In many cases, the companies delivered no products, the lawsuit alleges.

The judge cited evidence that defendants made unauthorized charges against the victims’ accounts, including creating checks that were run through victims’ bank accounts, according to a news release issued by Miller’s office.

Information officer

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday announced the appointment of Annette Dunn as the head of the Office of the Chief Information Officer, effective Monday.

“From strengthening strategic initiatives such as cybersecurity and rural broadband connectivity, Annette will play an important role in helping our state meet the demands of a 21st century digital economy,” Reynolds said in a statement, calling Dunn an “outstanding partner in driving innovation and technological change” within state government.

Dunn was appointed Information Technology Division director for the Iowa Department of Transportation in January 2015. A graduate of Iowa State University, Dunn obtained a certified public manager designation through Drake University. She spent eight years in military service, and has lived in Iowa for most of her civilian life and career.

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