Plan to close labor offices is ill-conceived

Steve Lyon
The director of the Idaho Department
of Labor deserves an award
for “most creative use of spin”
in the ambiguous press release that announced
the pending closure of more
than half of the job service offices.
Let me get this straight.
The labor department is
closing 14 of 25 walk-in job
service offices around the
state by September. Yet, the
department director said the
level of service will remain
the same, if not increase, in
rural communities.
The theme throughout the
press release was modernization
and touting a new model
of how the department delivers
The department plans to
work with community “partners”
and send labor employees out into
the field to meet Idahoans in libraries
and other locations to be determined.
Details in the press release were unclear.
Are people going to call the labor
department to set up appointments? I
can hear it now: “Push 7 to be put on
hold for a half-hour.”
I’m not sure everyone wants to meet
some labor department employee in a
library to discuss employment issues.
Maybe at the Crescent Lounge or over
coffee at Pepper’s?
Once the labor folks figure
out where they can meet
people in rural communities,
they will make a “concerted
effort to get the word out on
how to find us and where we
will be,” said director Jani
I’m not the only one that
disagrees with the move to
close rural offices, including
the closest one to Weiser in
Payette. The nearest walk-in
office after the planned closures
for Weiser residents
will be in Caldwell. That’s a bit of a
drive to talk to someone in person.
Walk-in job service offices are vital
to rural communities, where those in
search of employment can talk to someone
face to face about jobs and employers
can post jobs.
“It’s going to be a tremendous hardship
on rural towns,” former state Sen.
Shawn Keough told the Associated
Why the labor department wants to
close offices is beyond me. As the state’s
population explodes, it seems that adding
job service offices to meet the demands
would be the correct direction.
One news story stated that the labor
deparment was closing the walk-in offices
because it costs too much to update
them to meet the newest ADA requirements.
Federal funding has dropped by
47 percent over the past decade.
State government should be providing
access and services to all citizens. Closing
job service offices because it’s too
costly to upgrade them for handicapped
Idahoans is baloney.
Gov. Brad Little should stop the office
closures. Keep the Payette labor office
open. The services it offers are too important
to rural residents not to.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


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18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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