Labor department closing half of its service offices; plans to better serve rural areas

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(KMVT/KSVT) - More than half of the Idaho Department of Labor service offices will be closing their doors soon. That is 14 of their 25 offices across the state.

Director Jani Revier said they are launching a new delivery service model, where they will focus on providing better service to rural areas.

"Spend more time going to people rather than having them coming to us," she said in a phone onterview. "We still are going to maintain office hours and provide all the services we currently provide in rural areas, we’re going to be doing it in more communities."

In southern Idaho, there are three offices. One in Twin Falls, another in Burley and one in Hailey. She said they will be closing the Hailey office. However, they will still be providing services.

"We will no longer have an office five days a week, instead, we will have office hours and we will work with our community partners such as libraries, other state agencies, city, county or federal agencies or nonprofit agencies to identify locations where we can provide the services that we provide," she explained.

So, this could possibly mean at least one day a week they could go out to Shoshone or Richfield or any other cities, but this is still all in the works.

"We need to work with our staff in each of those areas and identify the best locations in the communities and we need to look at where the demand is for the services we provide and where the infrastructure that we can partner with," she said. "Once we identify those communities, we’re going to make sure we’ll have a concerted effort to get the word out on how to find us and where we will be."

Revier said after making the announcement, there was word they were pulling out of rural communities, however, she said that is not the case.

"We are committed to rural Idaho, we want to make sure we maintain a strong presence," she said. "Some of our services are very important to the citizens of rural Idaho. They're important to urban Idaho too, but there's often more opportunities and options in urban areas that don't exist in rural areas."

Even though some offices will be closing, she said there will be no layoffs.

"Everyone that currently works with the Idaho Department of Labor will continue to have a position," she said. "Some of the jobs will change. This is not being done to reduce staff, by any means. This is being done so we can invest in people, not places."

The Moscow office was the first to close, according to the Idaho Press.

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