Employment Department: Agency Subdivisions

Unemployment Insurance Division

Address: 875 Union St. NE, Salem 97311
Phone: 503-947-1330 
Fax: 503-947-1668
Contact: David Gerstenfeld, Director
Statutory Authority: ORS 657.601

Duties and Responsibilities: Unemployment insurance benefits replace part of the income lost when workers become unemployed through no fault of their own. The division is responsible for paying benefits to eligible claimants in an accurate and timely manner, deciding eligibility issues, discouraging fraud and collecting taxes to fund the program.

The money used to pay Oregon unemployment insurance benefits comes from Oregon employers’ state payroll taxes, which are deposited in a trust fund to pay unemployment insurance benefits to unemployed Oregon workers.

Workforce and Economic Research Division

Address: 875 Union St. NE, Salem 97311
Phone: 503-947-1229
Fax: 503-947-1210
Contact: Bob Uhlenkott, Director
Statutory Authority: ORS 657.601

Duties and Responsibilities: The division’s team of economists, workforce analysts and researchers collect, analyze and disseminate statewide and regional labor market information. They help organizations and businesses apply that information in their day-to-day operations. Analysts provide concise, up-to-date information about the local and state economies and their effects on the workforce. Research staff study the labor force and related topics, supply data and analysis to new and expanding firms and analyze occupational supply and demand, which is gathered through surveys sent to employers.

In addition to offering general information, staff produces special reports and responds to requests. Businesses use this labor market information to identify challenges and opportunities. Economic development planners, educators and training providers, job applicants, legislators and the news media regularly rely on this information to learn about workforce issues that affect Oregonians and Oregon businesses.

Workforce Operations Division

Address: 875 Union St. NE, Salem 97311
Phone: 503-947-1277
Fax: 503-947-1658
Contact: Jim Pfarrer, Director
Statutory Authority: ORS 657.601

Duties and Responsibilities: The Workforce Operations Division of the Employment Department serves employers by recruiting workers with skills matching employers’ needs. The department helps job seekers find jobs that match their skills, provides them with information about trends in occupations and refers job seekers to appropriate training programs.

The division partners with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, local workforce development boards, local training providers and the Department of Human Services Self-Sufficiency and Vocational Rehabilitation programs to form the state’s workforce system, WorkSource Oregon.

The division also oversees programs aimed at assisting certain groups, such as military veterans, migrant seasonal farmworkers and workers adversely affected by foreign trade.

Other Groups

Office of Administrative Hearings

Address: 4600 25th Ave. NE, Suite 140, Salem 97301; Mail: PO Box 14020, Salem 97309-4020
Phone: 503-947-1918
Fax: 503-947-1920
Contact: John Mann, Chief Administrative Law Judge
Statutory Authority: ORS 183.605

Duties and Responsibilities: The office was created by the Legislature in 1999 to provide an independent and impartial forum for citizens and businesses to dispute state agency actions against them. A Chief Administrative Law Judge is appointed by the governor and has independent statutory authority to manage the office. Fifty-nine professional administrative law judges hold more than 24,000 hearings a year for approximately 70 state agencies. By statute, all administrative law judges are required to be “impartial in the performance of [their] duties and shall remain fair in all hearings.” Oregon is one of 22 states with an independent central panel of administrative law judges.

Employment Appeals Board

Address: 875 Union St. NE, Salem 97311
Phone: 503-378-2077
Fax: 503-378-2129
Contact: J. Sara Cromwell, Chair
Statutory Authority: ORS 657.685–657.690

Duties and Responsibilities: The three-member board is appointed by the governor to review orders issued in contested unemployment insurance claims cases. The board reviews 1,400 to 1,700 cases per year with authority to affirm, modify, reverse or remand for additional evidence the orders of administrative law judges at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Final written decisions of the board are subject to review by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Employment Department Advisory Council

Address: 875 Union St. NE, Salem 97311
Phone: 503-947-1301
Fax: 503-947-1472
Contact: Andrea Fogue, Legislative Affairs and Communications Director
Statutory Authority: ORS 657.695

Duties and Responsibilities: The council includes volunteer representatives from the public, employers and employees. Council members are appointed by the governor and assist the Employment Department director in the effective development of policies and programs with respect to unemployment insurance, employment services and labor market information.

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