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Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne to step down July 8

Fred Payne is centered in the image, sitting behind a microphone at the Statehouse. In the top right corner, an ASL interpreter is translating Payne's remarks.
Screenshot of governor's live stream
During the height of COVID-19, DWD Commissioner Fred Payne would often be among the agency leaders providing updates during the governor's thrice weekly media briefings.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development commissioner Fred Payne is stepping down, the governor’s office announced Tuesday. Payne has led the department for the last five years.

Payne was appointed commissioner in 2017 after serving in multiple leadership roles at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana. His departure comes amid a series of leadership changes in state agencies over the last year, typical in the second term of a gubernatorial administration.

He led the Department of Workforce Development through a crush of unemployment applications as COVID-19 shut down businesses across the state and set a record-breaking jobless rate.

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Payne is leaving the department to become the United Way of Central Indiana’s president and CEO, replacing Ann Murtlow.

His last day as commissioner is July 8.

Contact Lauren at or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

Lauren is the digital editor for our statewide collaboration, and is based in Indianapolis at WFYI. Since starting for IPB News in 2016, she's covered everything from protests and COVID-19 to esports and policy. She's a proud Ball State University alumna and grew up on the west side of Indianapolis.