Executive Director, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

Ellen Golombek


In 2011 Governor Hickenlooper appointed Ellen Golombek as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Ellen brings more than 18 years of leadership and management to the department, a 1300-person agency which houses the Divisions of Employment and Training, Labor, Unemployment Insurance, Workers’ Compensation, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Oil and Public Safety.

In her first term as Executive Director at the Dept of Labor and Employment, Ellen has led an organizational and cultural change bringing a focus to customer service and employee productivity.

During her first two years as Executive Director, Ellen brought business and labor groups together to endorse two critical pieces of legislation supporting the performance and long-term success of Colorado’s unemployment insurance system. In 2012, Ellen brought business and labor groups together again to support the unanimous passage of a bill making it possible to bond the UI Trust Fund out of debt to the federal government and returning the fund to solvency.

Under Ellen’s leadership, Colorado’s workforce regions and workforce centers streamlined their business practices to assure all centers, both state and county run, were providing core services with consistency. Additionally, she helped with the creation of the Governor’s Business Experiential Learning Commission, whose mission is to expand non-traditional apprenticeships in Colorado through statewide business engagement.

Ellen’s previous experience includes state director for America Votes in Colorado and vice president for External Affairs for Planned Parenthood. She was the first woman elected as president of the Colorado AFL-CIO and spent four years with the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union.

In March 2016, Ellen was appointed to the Workforce Information and Advisory Council by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. She is immediate past president of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, serves on the Executive Board of the National Association of Government Labor Officials, is an Executive Committee member of the Colorado Workforce Development Council, leads the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet subcommittee and serves on the Business Experiential Learning Commission. along with the Lieutenant Governor’s Education Leadership Council.