North Iowa’s and that of the states’ unemployment rate is so low there are too many jobs and not enough people. Area industry is continually recruiting and trying to hire locally, but is having a hard time locating and keeping good talented workers. This is a problem that might be mitigated if employers made better use of the talents and skills of people with disabilities.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month with the theme America’s Workforce: Empowering All. Brooke Lovelace, executive director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, says Iowa’s low unemployment rate is good news for the state’s economy, but when filling positions, employers often overlook skilled workers in their own communities.
The Midwest in general has lower unemployment and higher job opening rates than the rest of the country, and people with disabilities have a significantly higher unemployment rate than the overall population.
A recent study showed that throughout the U.S. there is wide variability in employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Among states, for example, rates vary from about 25 percent in West Virginia to more than 50 percent in North Dakota. Lovelace says matching employees and employers is a win-win outcome for Iowa.
Lovelace says more inclusive communities are created when the skills and strengths of all Iowans are harnessed for work opportunities.
Lovelace adds that employers interested in hiring people with disabilities can contact the Disabilities Council, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Iowa Workforce Development or local nonprofit groups to find someone who would be a good fit for their company.