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Arkansas Department of Workforce Services Update

Dr. Charisse Childers and Kristen Rhodes-Berry will discuss update on Act 196 which makes multiple changes to unemployment insurance law including:

  • Reduces wage base from $10,000 to $7,000;
  • Changes wage base indexing as long as trust fund has minimum of $600 million;
  • Reduces maximum number of benefit weeks from 16 to 12;
  • Reduces new employer UI tax rate from 2.9% to 1.9%
  • Repeals stabilization tax and replaces with administrative assessment of 0.125%;
  • Reduces maximum UI tax rate from 14% to 10%;

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services includes the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) core programs and consolidates the Title 1-IV WIOA programs to ensure coordination among all core partner programs: Youth, Adult, & Dislocated Worker Services, Arkansas Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Wagner-Peyser – Employment Services, Unemployment Insurance, Division of Services for the Blind (Vocational Rehabilitation), Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (Vocational Rehabilitation), and Temporary Assistance of Needy Families.

Charisse Childers

Charisse Childers

Director at Arkansas Division of Workforce Services

Dr. Charisse Childers was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson in 2019 and reappointed by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders in 2023 to serve as the director of the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services overseeing the state’s workforce system which includes the division’s programs and grants of $1.5 billion and almost 1,000 employees.  She previously served as the director of the Arkansas Department of Career Education from January 2015 to July 2019.

Charisse earned her bachelor, master, and specialist degrees from Arkansas State University and a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas.  With 30 years of work and personal experience in education, business, government, non-profits, and economic development, she is always working to make a difference in the lives of others as she uses her experience and knowledge to provide resources and services to strengthen Arkansas’s economy.

Kristen Rhodes-Berry

Kristen Rhodes-Berry

Assistant Director of Unemployment Insurance at Arkansas Department of Workforce Services

Kristen Rhodes-Berry served with the Secretary of State’s office for seven years in Business and Commercial Services and in Elections, where she worked with the statewide voter system upgrade as part of the Help America Vote Act.

 She joined the Department of Workforce Services (now the Department of Commerce-Division of Workforce Services) in the Unemployment Insurance Division in 2010, working in the Unemployment Insurance Division serving employers and claimants directly and transitioning into various management roles. She now serves as the Assistant Director of Unemployment Insurance.

 During the pandemic, several opportunities to improve the existing program were identified and Kristen has been instrumental in leading the DWS team in improving the program, making great strides to streamline systems and ensure a simplified and less time-consuming experience for all involved.

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Thu, April 13, 2023 | 11:30-11:45 am | Add to Calendar

Location: Doubletree Hotel Ballroom