The Division of Employment and Training Legal Services (ETLS) provides legal advice, rule-making, and litigation services to the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) on a wide variety of employment and training programs. These programs contribute to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services for adults and youth. The programs primarily operate through state and local workforce development systems. ETA programs for which ETLS is responsible for providing legal services to include:

  • The federal-state unemployment compensation program;
  • Assistance for workers who have been displaced due to international trade;
  • Labor certifications necessary for foreign workers to enter the U.S. for employment;
  • Apprenticeship training and certification; and
  • Employment services, such as job placement assistance and training.

ETLS also provides legal services to the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) that support its employment and training programs for veterans and service members who are leaving their military service. VETS programs for which the ETLS provides legal services include:

  • Grant programs that provide employment services and training for veterans;
  • Administration of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) which assures reemployment rights and protection against discrimination to members of the uniformed services; and
  • Enforcement of federal executive branch veterans' preference laws.

ETLS also serves as a liaison to DOL regional solicitors who assist VETS in the investigation of USERRA cases.

ETLS also supports the Bureau of International Labor Affairs on all international activities of the Department, including:

  • Responsibilities as the U.S. member of the International Labor Organization and other international organizations;
  • Oversight over the labor provisions of several free trade agreements; and
  • Cooperative agreements to provide international child labor and core labor standards technical assistance projects.


  • ETLS attorneys provided substantial drafting and review services to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) the first legislative reform of the public workforce system in more than 15 years. WIOA revised a wide variety of education and training programs at the Departments of Labor and Education in order to help job seekers and workers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and match employers with skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Numerous ETLS attorneys provided substantial drafting and review services that helped the effort to issue a comprehensive and lengthy set of regulations, portions of which were required to be jointly issued by the Departments of Labor and Education. President Obama issued a letter thanking the employees who worked on this project in which he said that "I know that finalizing these regulations has required a tremendous amount of sacrifice from you all. Please know how grateful I am for your commitment to public service and for the work you do every day to protect the economic security of America's families."
  • ETLS attorneys assisted ETA's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) in issuing a regulation concerning how OFLC issues labor certifications to employers seeking to temporarily employ foreign non-agricultural workers under the H-2B visa program. These regulations were jointly issued with the Department of Homeland Security.
  • ETLS attorneys worked closely with ETA's Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance in providing technical assistance to Congress as part of the 2015 extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and on preparing guidance to states to ensure that the program changes, and their effect on implementation by the states, were clear. This resulted in the publication of Operating Instructions which currently serve as guidance for the states and a resource for former employees who are certified to receive assistance and other stakeholders.

What We Do

The work of the Division consists of a wide variety of legal assistance to our client agencies. ETLS attorneys:

  • Provide formal and informal legal advice;
  • Assist in issuance of formal regulations and sub-regulatory guidance by drafting and/or reviewing proposed regulatory and guidance documents;
  • Engage in litigation before the Office of Administrative Law Judges on behalf of our clients;
  • Assist the Department of Justice in civil litigation before a variety of trial and appellate courts; and
  • Assist in drafting and/or reviewing proposed legislation.

Staff attorneys report to an individual first line supervisor (called a Counsel) but generally receive assignments from other Counsels as well. Generally, each staff attorney engages in a wide variety of assignments that can include all of the Division's functions, legal advice, litigation, regulations and legislation. With the exception of assignments in support of ILAB, which might involve international travel, ETLS attorneys rarely travel.

DOL Agencies Supported

Contact Information

200 Constitution Ave NW
Room N-2101
Washington, DC 20210

202-693-5732 (fax)

Associate Solicitor (Acting)
Jessica G. Lyn

Deputy Associate Solicitor
Jessica G. Lyn

Counsel for Employment and Training Programs
Heather Vitale

Counsel for Immigration Programs
Katherine Zhao

Counsel for International Affairs and USERRA
Derek Baxter

Counsel for Job Corps and Apprenticeship
Rebecca Trent

Counsel for Unemployment Compensation
Jonathan Hammer

Management and Program Analyst