Governor Tom Vilsack says a recent nationwide poll found people choose to live in places that reflect a diversity of people. “Iowa is a beautiful land and a beautiful state in all parts of the year, but it is perhaps most beautiful during the fall and the reason it is is because there’s a diversity of color on our landscape,” Vilsack says. The governor says research shows communities that “embrace diversity” are the most economically successful. And Vilsack says a recent Gallup poll asked people what “connects” them to their home community, and while the top reason was the “aesthetic” look of the area, the second-most popular reason people pick a neighborhood is because of it’s diversity. “It wasn’t diversity in just the traditional sense. When we think of diversity we often think of different colors and cultures, perhaps different sexual orientations, but this was the broad array of diversity: young, old, people with disabilities, people of different colors and cultures, people of different sexual orientations,” Vilsack says. Vilsack says apart from making diversity a “value” to embrace, making Iowa a “more welcoming” state is part of a strategy to improve the state’s economy. There are currently eight, state-run “Welcome Centers” around Iowa which offer training and assistance to immigrants who settle here. In addition, Vilsack touts state efforts to help minority-owned businesses navigate the capitalistic culture. “I talk to a lot of business leaders in the state, and they continue to express the desire and the need for diversity in the workforce,” Vilsack says. Vilsack made his remarks in the opening moments of a two-day “diversity” conference in Ames.
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