Indiana workforce development commissioner leaving state post for United Way

Fred Payne

Fred Payne, who has served as commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development since 2017, is leaving the post to become the next president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana.

“From the moment he stepped up to lead the Department of Workforce Development, Fred Payne put his wealth of knowledge, innovative approach and contagious optimism to work,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb. “Throughout the unforeseen challenges of the past few years, Fred has adeptly propelled this agency to provide not only unemployment benefits, but training that has helped thousands of Hoosiers pursue training pathways that have led to careers and helped unleash their full potential.”

Payne’s last day as commissioner is July 8.

Prior to serving as commissioner, Payne served in multiple leadership roles at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana.

The state said under Payne’s leadership, DWD has:

  • Started the state’s Office of Work-Based Learning & Apprenticeship, which added more than 200 new apprenticeship programs, 25,000 new apprentices and more than 150 State Earn & Learn programs
  • Helped more than 30,000 Hoosiers obtain a high school equivalency, which has pushed Indiana’s Adult Education program to be ranked No. 1 in the nation for three of the last four years in terms of average skills improvements
  • Evolved the state’s Next Level Jobs program to serve more than 1,400 employers and provide training to more than 37,000 Hoosiers. Since its inception, more than 15,800 people have enrolled in high quality certification programs
  • Maintained a 95% graduation rate for high-risk high school students through the Jobs for America’s Graduates program
  • Delivered more than $9.6 billion in unemployment insurance benefits to more than 900,000 people throughout Indiana during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic

“My service under Gov. Holcomb has been one of the proudest moments of my professional career,” said Payne. “I have had the privilege of working with talented professionals who have dedicated their time to helping Hoosiers gain economic mobility through job training, education, job connection and assisting those who need a financial bridge between employment.”

He said while the challenges facing workforce are complex, “Indiana remains uniquely positioned to continue addressing them and moving forward.”


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