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It’s no secret that employers throughout the country have been struggling to find workers to fill open jobs. In fact, recent reports have said there are more than 80,000 jobs available in Iowa, and a quick search of online job board Indeed shows nearly 5,000 available jobs in the Quad Cities alone.

None of this is surprising given that unemployment is at historic lows. What is surprising, however, is that the unemployment rate in the deaf and hard of hearing community exceeds 50 percent. Even in the almost 30 years since Senator Tom Harkin championed the Americans with Disabilities Act, the needle with respect to employment in the deaf community has hardly budged.

This reality is what led our national nonprofit Everyone at Work to partner with the Harkin Institute at Drake University in Des Moines to solve this problem. Next week, we are bringing together deaf individuals looking for work and employers looking to hire. This first-of-its-kind event, which begins Tuesday, is open to any deaf or hard of hearing Midwesterner and any Midwest company wanting to participate. There will be social outings at the Iowa State Fair and a day-long training and design thinking session for job seekers. The events will culminate with a career fair Thursday morning, August 15.

This is an exciting opportunity to help connect companies with an untapped workforce and for the deaf community to connect with employers in a friendly and welcoming environment.

There is still time to register to join us. Visit EveryoneAtWork.com for more information.

Kyle Duarte

Founding director, Everyone at Work

Washington, DC.

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