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Home > About DWS

About DWS



To strengthen the economic well-being of all Arkansans and their communities.


To enable Arkansas' workforce to compete in the global economy by linking a comprehensive array of services for 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 for 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.

To file for Unemployment, or if you are a job seeker, please click here for a list of Local Offices near you or call the Information Desk toll-free at 1-855-225-4440.

To send correspondence to a member of Administration below, please use the following address:

Department of Workforce Services
#2 Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201

Daryl Bassett, Director - 501-682-3394
The director is responsible for the administration of the Department of Workforce Services.

Ron Snead, Deputy Director - 501-682-2033
The deputy director oversees field operations and has operational responsibility for the following divisions: Information Technology, Legal, Labor Market Information and Analysis, Unemployment Insurance, Financial Management, Employment Assistance and New Hire Registry.

Cindy Varner, Assistant Director
Employment Assistance - 501-371-1028

Employment Assistance provides policy development and technical assistance for the federally-funded employment and training programs administered by the agency including the Workforce Investment Act, Wagner-Peyser Labor Exchange, Veterans and the Transitional Employment Assistance programs. The department also administers the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Alien Labor Certification programs. Additionally, the Employment Assistance department administers the Labor Market Information Unit, which provides information for employers and the community regarding employment, wages, labor market trends, and unemployment rates. This information is used by industries and organizations for economic development purposes, to develop job training, and attract industries. The information is provided to statisticians, employers, researchers, economic developers, and institutions of higher education.

Ron Calkins, Assistant Director
Unemployment Insurance - 501-682-3200

The Unemployment Insurance Unit facilitates employer compliance with the Arkansas Employment Security Law, collects unemployment insurance contributions from employers, provides unemployment insurance benefits to those eligible, and maintains management information systems for filing unemployment insurance claims and fraud detection.

Earnest L. Sweat III, Assistant Director
Information Technology - 501-682-5668

The Information Technology Unit provides automated solutions, including mainframe, client server and Web environments, for the Department of Workforce Services. The unit provides technical support for the agency's computers, network issues and application problems. The unit also provides IT security policy development and monitoring and provides Disaster Recovery Planning for the agency.

Don Denton, General Counsel
Legal - 501-682-3250

The Office of Legal Services provides advice on legal issues to the director and assistant directors, area operations chiefs and office managers at DWS as well as to the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board and Transitional Employment Assistance Board. The office prepares or reviews contracts and memorandums of understanding; represents the agency in all legal proceedings affecting the agency, including, but not limited to, foreclosures, bankruptcies and matters requiring court appearances; and handles all appeals to the Court of Appeals from the Board of Review. The office works to reduce fraud, prosecute perpetrators of fraud and effect the civil collection of all overpayments.

Bryan Hicks, Assistant Director
Financial Management - 501-682-3108

The Financial Management Unit provides administrative and fiscal services for the various units of the department including accounting, budgeting, payroll, purchasing and internal security. The unit monitors the fiscal affairs of subgrantees who receive federal fund allocations through DWS. The unit is also responsible for building maintenance, fleet maintenance and building security.

Sommer Faulkenberry, Chairman
Board of Review - 501-683-4300

The Board of Review is an autonomous state agency which is responsible for the operation of both higher and lower administrative appeals in unemployment compensation claims. The board is composed of a full-time chairman and two part-time members. The chairman serves as agency director. The board's decisions affirm, reverse or modify the decisions of the lower appellate authority. The board also may remand cases for further proceedings by the tribunal or the department.

Phil Harris, Assistant Director
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program - 501-683-5370
Provides overall direction for the agency's federally-funded TANF Program Operations as well as the TANF Oversight Board Activities. TANF provides policy development and technical assistance for Program Services; Quality Assurance and Performance to ensure quality and conformity with the TANF Program Policy; Community Investment Initiatives and Individual Development Accounts for contracting of services to low-income families served; TANF Training to all TEA and Work Pays staff for effective case management and service delivery.

Steve Guntharp, Assistant Director
New Hire Registry - 501-682-3378
The Arkansas New Hire Registry collects information about new employees from all employers, profit and nonprofit, in the state. Employers submit W-4 forms, and this information is used to locate noncustodial parents who owe child support in Arkansas. It is also used to detect and prevent unemployment insurance fraud, workers' compensation fraud and other types of public assistance fraud.

The Department of Workforce Services maintains records on Unemployment Insurance, Employment Service, Workforce Investment activities, and Labor Market Information.
A listing of those unique to the department are as follows:

  1. The Board/Appeal Tribunal keep a docket system to track current appeals and to provide required data for DOL-mandated reports.

  2. There are certain databases for the Bureau of Labor Statistics maintained at a warehouse/storage facility in Voorhees, N.J.

  3. The Department of Workforce Services has UI, Employer, and Wage databases that are currently stored on the DIS mainframe.

  4. The Arkansas Consumer Reporting System is a database housed at the Department of Information Systems that serves as a depository for training providers in Arkansas. The system also provides information to determine the eligibility of providers to train citizens utilizing WIA federal dollars.

  5. Employment Assistance utilizes databases in the following programs: Employment Service, Workforce Development, Alien Labor Certification, and Dislocated Worker, TAA.

Advisory Council

Staff Directory

Listing of DWS Local Offices

MAP of DWS Local Offices

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