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Workforce Services


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The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is a division of the Arkansas Department of Commerce.

About the Arkansas Department of Commerce

The Arkansas Department of Commerce is the umbrella department for workforce and economic development drivers. Its divisions and regulatory boards include the Division of Aeronautics, Waterways Commission, Wine Producers Council, Division of Workforce Services, Office of Skills Development, State Bank Department, Insurance Department, Securities Department, Economic Development Commission, and Development Finance Authority. Read more.

About the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS) is the state agency responsible for providing job-related services to unemployed state residents, such as coordinating training and educational opportunities, processing unemployment insurance claims, and connecting job seekers with employment opportunities in the state.

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services consists of four major sections: Workforce Services, Adult Education, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, and Services for the Blind. Each section is responsible for administering multiple state and federal grants, the programs they fund, and the services they provide to Arkansans.

DWS is unique from other state agencies because it is almost 100% federally funded. DWS does not earn a profit, and the agency’s success is measured by its ability to meet the needs of Arkansas employers and job seekers. The Arkansas Legislature appropriates the agency’s funds and has the authority to pass legislation affecting agency programs and services on a state level. As a result, DWS adheres to both state and federal laws and regulations. The size of the agency’s budget and staffing levels are adapted to meet the needs of the state and its customers while balancing the requirements of stakeholders.


ADWS began life as the Arkansas Employment Security Division of the Arkansas Department of Labor (ADL). This division was created by Act 391 of 1941, in the wake of New Deal legislation such as the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act of 1939, which created a national system of unemployment benefits and encouraged states to do likewise. Act 391, noting that “economic insecurity due to unemployment is a serious menace to the health, morals, and welfare of the people of this State,” created a network of public employment offices to operate “in affiliation with a national system of employment services” as well as a fund for the disbursement of benefits to be paid out during periods of unemployment. A board of review was created to hear claims and appeals for unemployment benefits.

Read more here!

Find a Local Office

The four major agency sections have staff in local offices across the state, often within the Arkansas Workforce Centers. To view locations, click on one of the links below.

Click here to find an Arkansas Workforce Center

Click here to find an Adult Education Center

Click here to find a Rehabilitation Services office

Click here to find a Services for the Blind office


Cody Waits, Director, Arkansas Workforce Connections
501-682-3125 |

Charisse Childers, Ph.D., Agency Director
501-682-2121 |

Eddie L. Thomas, MPA, MAT, DWS Deputy Director, Employment & Training
501-371-1028 |

Trenia Miles, Ed.D., Director
Adult Education – 501-683-7334 |

Joseph Baxter, Commissioner
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services – 501-296-1614 |

Cassondra Williams-Stokes, D.M., Director
Division of Services for the Blind – 501-682-0361 |

Vision & Mission

Vision: To accelerate economic growth and individual prosperity in the state of Arkansas.

Mission: To support and secure Arkansas’ economic vitality through a highly skilled workforce by administering programs and providing efficient services that empower employers and job seekers.

Core Values

A: Accountability – We concern ourselves with the responsibilities we have to our customers, state, agency partners, and colleagues. Accordingly, we use good judgment when making decisions, and we take ownership of our actions.

D: Discipline – We demonstrate discipline in our thoughts and actions, always striving to improve our processes and never settling for mediocrity.

A: Agility – We are flexible and embrace innovation in order to align ourselves with our ever-changing world.

P: Passion – We are dedicated to improving the well-being of our state and show pride and enthusiasm in providing quality services to our customers.

T: Teamwork – We care about each other both professionally and personally, and we are cooperative with each other and our partners, uniting to achieve a common mission.

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ADWS provides interpretation and translation services, at no cost, for clients who need assistance in accessing and participating in available services and programs. To request an interpreter or translator, please contact your nearest local office. 

ADWS ej lewaj jerbal in ukok ilo jeje im kennaan, ilo ejjelok wōnāān, ñan client ro am ak ro kimij jerbal ippair im rej aikuij jipañ ñan bok kunairilo jerbal ko iim pirokiraam ko. Ñan am kajjitōk juon ri-ukok, jouij im kepaake opij eo epaake ijo kwoj pād ie.

ADWS proporciona servicios de interpretación y traducción, sin costo alguno, para clientes que necesitan asistencia accediendo y participando en servicios y programas disponibles. Para solicitar un intérprete o traductor, por favor póngase en contacto con su oficina local más cercana.

ADWS cung cấp dịch vụ thông dịch và phiên dịch miễn phí cho khách hàng cần trợ giúp trong việc tiếp cận và tham gia các dịch vụ và chương trình hiện có. Để yêu cầu thông dịch viên hoặc phiên dịch viên, yêu cầu liên lạc với văn phòng địa phương gần nhất.

ພະແນກ ADWS ຈັດຫາບໍຣິການນາຍພາສາແລະການແປເອກະສານ ໂດຍບໍ່ຄິດຄ່າບໍຣິການ ສຳລັບຄົນງານທີ່ຕ້ອງການຄວາມຊ່ວຍເຫລືອເພື່ອເຂົ້າເຖິງ ແລະເຂົ້າຮ່ວມໃນ ການຮັບບໍຣິການແລະໂຄງການຕ່າງໆທີ່ມີຢູ່ສຳລັບທ່ານ. ຂໍໃຫ້ທ່ານຈົ່ງຕິດຕໍ່ຫ້ອງການທ້ອງຖິ່ນທີ່ໃກ້ທ່ານທີ່ສຸດ ເພື່ອຂໍຮັບບໍຣິການຈາກນາຍພາສາຫລືນັກແປເອກະສານ.