Nearly half of all disabled Iowa adults are working. Only two other states have a higher percentage of their disabled citizens in the workforce.
Heather Link, the human resources manager at Owner Revolution in Atlantic and Adair, says companies like hers in rural Iowa are finding it more difficult to find employees with “a good work ethic.”
“What we have found with employing people with disabilities…is they tend to have a much higher work ethic because they want to be there,” Link says. “They have better listening skills. They’re more trainable due to their desire to succeed and, overall, they are more content with their work.”
Her company has used federal and state grants to help make workplace accommodations for disabled employees.
“It’s really a great opportunity for businesses to take advantage of the underutilized, but awesome workforce there is in people with disabilities,” Link says.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says with nearly “full employment” in Iowa, it’s important to help physically or mentally disabled youth transition into the workforce.
“We believe that every Iowan can learn and every Iowan can work and every Iowan can have, most importantly, a rewarding career,” Reynolds says.
Nearly 47 percent of adult Iowans who have a disability were employed in 2014. Officials estimate about 12.5 percent of all adult Americans have some sort of disability, but only a third of them had a job.