IDES - Meet IDES Director Jeffrey Mays

Meet IDES Director Jeffrey Mays

Meet IDES Director Jeffrey Mays

Jeff Mays, Director


Jeff Mays was appointed as Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) by Governor Bruce Rauner on January 12, 2015.  Since joining, Director Mays immediately focused on enhancing the agency’s services for job seekers, claimants and employers, and on making IDES the pre-eminent employment agency in Illinois.

Whether it’s connecting employers to job-seekers, helping unemployed individuals find meaningful work, providing unemployment insurance to those who are eligible, producing labor market data or protecting taxpayers from unemployment insurance fraud -- IDES impacts thousands of people each day and helps them through their challenging times.  With this in mind, IDES’ top goals are to:

 •​ Revamp Unemployment Insurance (UI) internet and phone customer services and work towards streamlining the overall claims system;

• Improve the quality of internal processes to increase user-ability while reducing costs to tax-payers; 

• Implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to establish a unified planning process across core workforce programs and to better align and leverage various agencies’ federal funding streams;

• Solidify the agency’s position as the go-to resource for wage, employer and workforce participation information based on customer-driven geographies;

• Expand the agency’s automated integrity system to further reduce waste, fraud and UI abuse.

Under Director Mays’ leadership, IDES will continue to provide job services and career education to help build a stronger workforce, to underscore the benefits of the agency’s extensive wage and workforce-participation-rate database, and as Director Mays says, “do a lot of good for a lot of people.”


About the Director

Jeff Mays has extensive experience working in state and federal government and is an advocate of education and workforce development in Illinois.  Mays is a former, five-term Illinois state legislator who represented West-Central Illinois (R-96th District; 1981-1990).

He served as Co-Chair of the Legislative Audit Commission, as Minority Spokesman on the House Appropriations Committee and on the House Labor and Commerce, Executive, and Financial Institutions Committees, as well as the Select Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.  Mays also served as Special Assistant to the Chicago Regional Administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As President of the Illinois Business Roundtable, an association of corporate business leaders, Mays made recommendations on Illinois’ policy issues. Mays also served as Vice President of Human Resources and as Executive Vice President of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce. Mays holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in History. He lives in Quincy and prior to his appointment as Director of IDES, served as the Vice President on the Quincy Public School Board.