RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin has appointed Carrie Roth, commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission, to lead a new department that manages the state’s workforce development programs.

The appointment of Roth as director of the Virginia Department of Workforce Development and Advancement, announced Friday by Youngkin’s office, set off a shake-up in leadership within the state’s labor agencies.

Youngkin picked Demetrios “Mitch” Melis, the director of the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, to replace Roth and Kishore Thota, the professional and occupational regulation department’s chief deputy, to replace Melis.

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to create the Department of Workforce Development and Advancement earlier this year, consolidating the state’s workforce program evaluation and data sharing under the agency.

Roth was named VEC commissioner last year following lawsuits filed against the agency over its struggles to handle unemployment claims after job losses during the pandemic drove people to seek benefits.

The governor also appointed Del. Kathy Byron (R-Bedford), who is not running for re-election in the Nov. 7 elections, to be the deputy director for external affairs at the state Department of Workforce Development and Advancement. Del. Byron sponsored the bill that created the department in the Virginia House of Delegates.