Black Hawk County Residents Join State, Local Leaders During Minority Unemployment Listening Tour in Waterloo

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: October 5, 2017
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646
Email: cory.kelly@iwd.iowa.gov

Black Hawk County Residents Join State, Local Leaders During Minority Unemployment Listening Tour in Waterloo

Waterloo, Iowa - Governor Kim Reynolds and Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart joined with other leaders and members of the community to discuss minority unemployment at the Waterloo Center for the Arts on Wednesday.

“We have employers who have jobs, and we have workers with skills and qualifications, but there is a disconnect,” said Reynolds. “This is a great place to start, but to make a difference, it’s going to take all of us working together. We need to look at things differently and keep the conversation going.”

The discussion, which was broadcast live on Facebook, was the 11th listening tour session held by the Iowa Workforce Development Board’s Minority Unemployment and Outreach Standing Committee. The focus of the listening tour sessions is to help the committee better understand barriers to employment for minority populations as well as identify opportunities to address them.

“This is the third listening tour session we’ve held in Waterloo and we are honored to have the Governor and so many of Iowa’s leaders join us in this discussion,” said Hart. “We are also thankful so many of our residents have shown up to share with us their experiences and ideas about how we can address the barriers they face.”

The Minority Unemployment and Outreach Standing Committee was formed in February to address disparities in the minority unemployment rate in Iowa. The goal of the committee is to reduce minority unemployment rates by five percent (or to the state average) in the next five years.

“What we are finding is that it’s not any one single factor, but the multitude of them that make it difficult for our minority populations to find and keep gainful employment,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “To address these barriers, we will need to find more effective ways to connect our communities to the programs and services currently being offered throughout the state.”

The committee will develop a strategic plan that aligns with the plan being developed by the Future Ready Iowa Alliance. The Future Ready Iowa Alliance is charged with developing a strategic plan by October 31, 2017, to ensure 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce will have education beyond high school by 2025.

For additional information about the Minority Unemployment and Outreach Standing Committee, visit the committee’s section of the Iowa Workforce Development Board website or connect with the initiative on Facebook or Twitter.

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