AUSTIN ⎯ With deep sadness, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announces the passing of its Executive Director Larry Temple, who died Saturday morning at the age of 66. Mr. Temple faithfully served the state of Texas for over two decades, from 1997 until 2019.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Executive Director Larry Temple. No words can adequately express our sadness at Mr. Temple’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. Mr. Temple was an unstoppable force. His commitment to helping the Texas workforce system changed thousands of individual lives,” said TWC Chair Hughs, Commissioner Alvarez and Commissioner Thomas.
The Commissioners continued, saying, “A devoted husband, loving father, honest and steadfast friend, exemplary worker, leader and someone with an oversized sense of humor who had the ability to make everyone smile: this is how we will always remember Mr. Temple. He was deeply loved by his family and friends. We cannot put into words the loss that will be felt by his passing. In addition to his family, those of us who had the opportunity to work under his leadership and alongside him feel a tremendous loss.”
Mr. Larry Temple came to the TWC agency in 1997, serving first as Director of Welfare Reform for six years, and then served as Executive Director since 2004 for 14 years. Over the course of Mr. Temple’s state service, individuals inside and outside of Texas saw firsthand his integrity, humility and compassion always on display. TWC strengthened under his leadership, becoming one of the most comprehensive and integrated workforce development systems in the country.
Mr. Temple never deterred from his most important mission and purpose. He understood deeply the importance of providing exemplary service to his family, community, state and nation. He befriended everyone he met locally and nationally—he loved life, and he loved his work. His strong leadership and problem-solving skills helped bring dignity and pride to working Texans. He understood that putting Texans back to work is the most honorable of jobs, and keeping Texas working is the greatest hope for our future. He continuously stated that the “best part of my job is knowing that I had a part in helping someone else get a job.”
Meanwhile, he was an extremely hard worker, had natural authenticity that comes with great wisdom and experience, was deeply compassionate to others in need, and shared with everyone he met his well-refined sense of humor and charismatic self.
Mr. Temple vigorously championed major transformative workforce goals. Over the past 20 years, he frequently testified before and advised Congress and many states, sharing best practices on reemployment and other leading policy and program ideas. Under his leadership, TWCalso actively helped other state workforce agencies in times of crisis. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the TWCUnemployment Insurance Division handled thousands of claims for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, at a time when Texas was dealing with its own catastrophic damage.
Prior to serving at TWC, Mr. Temple served as Deputy Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services for five years. In Mississippi, he oversaw statewide administration of the state’s human services programs and led one of the early statewide welfare reform initiatives.
Mr. Temple was actively involved with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), the national organization representing all 50 state workforce agencies, serving at various times as both president and board member.
His work was recognized nationally and contributed to Texas being a model workforce for the nation. In December, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Hand Up Award by the American Institute for Full Employment (AIFE). We are forever in his debt.
The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.