IN Brief

Fred Payne leaves DWD to join United Way

By: - June 28, 2022 3:00 am

DWD Commissioner Fred Payne (Indiana Department of Workforce Development photo)

After a four-year term heading an agency vital to Hoosiers during the tumultuous COVID-19 pandemic, Fred Payne will leave the Department of Workforce Development to be the next CEO and president of the United Way of Central Indiana.

“The United Way of Central Indiana has been instrumental in helping our communities address some of the most critical social challenges,” Payne said in a statement. “I look forward to building on that work, and helping more families break the cycle of poverty.”

Ann Murtlow, the outgoing United Way president and CEO, will retire on June 30 after nine years with the nonprofit.

Job losses in 2020 during the earliest phase of the pandemic inundated DWD with requests for unemployment insurance benefits, including newly qualified independent contracts like Uber drivers. A release from the governor’s office announcing his departure said DWD distributed more than $9.6 billion in unemployment to more than 900,000 Hoosiers during the pandemic. Many Hoosiers, though, criticized how long it took for the benefits to reach them as the agency cited battling fraud.

“I have had the privilege of working with talented professionals who have dedicated their time to helping Hoosiers gain economic mobility through job training, education, job connection and assisting those who need a financial bridge between employment,” Payne said in a statement. “While the challenges facing workforce are complex, Indiana remains uniquely positioned to continue addressing them and moving forward.”

Before Gov. Eric Holcomb appointed him as commissioner, Payne held multiple roles with Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, including chief administrator, general counsel and compliance officer.

“From the moment he stepped up to lead the Department of Workforce Development, Fred Payne put his wealth of knowledge, innovative approach and contagious optimism to work,” Holcomb said. “Throughout the unforeseen challenges of the past few years, Fred has adeptly propelled this agency to provide not only unemployment benefits, but training that has helped thousands of Hoosiers pursue training pathways that have led to careers and helped unleash their full potential.”

Payne’s last day with the agency will be July 8 and his first day at United Way will be July 18.

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Whitney Downard
Whitney Downard

A native of upstate New York, Whitney previously covered statehouse politics for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term healthcare facilities and local government. Prior to her foray into Indiana politics, she worked as a general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (#GoBonnies!), a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.