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About the Department

About the Department

Mission Statement: To promote industry and labor and protect the rights and safety of Missouri's workforce.

The Missouri Labor Department is comprised of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission and the following five divisions:

Division of Employment Security

Collects tax contributions from employers and pays unemployment benefits to individuals who are determined eligible under the law.

Division of Workers' Compensation

Ensures that workers injured on the job receive the benefits they deserve and investigates allegations of workers' compensation fraud and noncompliance.

Division of Labor Standards

Regulates wages and wage rates and promotes safe working environments.

State Board of Mediation

Determines the appropriate bargaining unit for public employees and regulates utility labor relations.

Missouri Commission on Human Rights

Enforces and adjudicates Missouri's anti-discriminatory, fair housing, employment, and public accommodation statutes.

Ryan McKenna, Director of the Department of Labor & Industrial RelationsRyan McKenna was named Director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in December 2013 by Governor Jay Nixon.

McKenna has represented Jefferson County in the state Senate since 2006, and also was a state representative from Jefferson County from 1998 to 2004. He served on several Senate committees, including the Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee. His father and his grandfather also served in the Missouri General Assembly before him. A Jefferson County native, McKenna is a graduate of Missouri State University and worked as a union laborer on highway and bridge construction before being elected to the General Assembly.


Ken Jacob, Deputy Director of the Department of Labor & Industrial RelationsKen Jacob was appointed to serve as the Deputy Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in December 2013. Prior to this appointment, Jacob served as the Acting Director for Division of Employment Security. He also served in the Missouri Legislature, both in the House and Senate, ran state programs for youth non-for-profit organizations, and was the Chair of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission in 2004.

Jacob earned two bachelor’s degrees (economics and history), two master’s degrees (public administration, educational counseling and personnel management), and his law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Jacob has two grown children, Jessica, who resides in California, and Daniel, who currently works as an assistant attorney general in Jefferson City.