Polk County Residents Gathered to Share Opinions, Experiences with Minority Unemployment and Outreach Standing Committee Members During First Listening Tour Session

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: April 12, 2017
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646
Email:  cory.kelly@iwd.iowa.gov

Polk County Residents Gathered to Share Opinions, Experiences with Minority Unemployment and Outreach Standing Committee Members During First Listening Tour Session

Des Moines, Iowa - Community members and leaders gathered Tuesday night in Des Moines to share their insights and perspectives regarding barriers minorities face when seeking employment in Iowa. The meeting was the first listening tour stop held by the Minority Unemployment and Outreach Standing Committee.

“Hearing directly from members of the community about their experiences in seeking employment is an important first step to addressing the issue of high minority unemployment rates,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “The perspectives we heard last night are invaluable to creating real solutions. I strongly encourage Iowans to participate in upcoming listening tour sessions.”

Polk County is one of four pilot counties where listening tour stops are being scheduled over the next two months.

Upcoming sessions include:

  • Wednesday, April 19, 11 a.m. to Noon, Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel, Tama
  • Thursday, April 20, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Steeple Square, Dubuque
  • Tuesday, April 25, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Des Moines North High School, Des Moines
  • Tuesday, May 9, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Payne Memorial AME Church, Waterloo
  • Tuesday, May 30, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Waterloo Center for the Arts, Waterloo

Meetings are still being scheduled including in Pottawattamie County. The Minority Unemployment and Outreach Standing Committee was formed in February to address disparities in the minority unemployment rates in Iowa. 

The committee's goal is to create a strategic plan that will reduce minority unemployment rates by five percent (or to the state average) in the next five years. The plan will align with the strategic 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 & 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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