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New Effort to Help Iowans with Disabilities

December 15, 2006

Des Moines, IA - Many of the estimated 400,000 Iowans with disabilities have been excluded from the workforce, but that may soon change under an agreement between Des Moines Area Community College and the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS).

Steve Wooderson, IVRS administrator, hopes this joint effort will begin to address the chronic unemployment problem facing Iowans with disabilities.

"They (the community college) have contacts with employers and know what their needs are. We think this partnership is going to give us greater access to our employer marketplace."

Wooderson says Iowans with disabilities represent a large group of first-rate workers, ready and willing to meet the state's needs in the years to come.

"We really have an untapped pool of persons, specifically individuals with disabilities, that have a wide range of disabilities, but also a wide range of abilities."

According to Wooderson, the collaboration will not only increase job training opportunities, it will allow the two organizations to connect with employers and inform them of the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA