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Untapped Talent: Persons with Disabilities Experiential Learning Session

Persons with Disabilities Untapped Talent

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. Read our recent post from Becky Curran Kekula, an inclusion advocate for persons with disabilities, where she shared on the importance of building inclusive workplaces here. You can also find information on How to Drive Workplace Inclusivity in the COVID-19 Era here.

During the Untapped Talent: Persons with Disabilities Experiential Learning Session, Michelle Kreft, director of business relations at Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS), and Ashley Cummings, the Des Moines business consultant for IVRS, discussed what makes a successful diversity program, which is integrated into your hiring practices and embedded into your culture. The key to hiring persons with disabilities and creating a successful path for new employees is communication, which the speaker dive into for the duration of the webinar.

How to Improve the Impact of Miscommunication in the Workplace

Kreft detailed how to create effective communication in an organization from the top down. Leadership must:

  • Make company goals clear
  • Promote hiring people with a diverse background as part of the company’s overall goal for success
  • Train supervisors to work with persons with disabilities
  • Not be afraid to deal with issues pertaining to employees with disabilities

According to Kreft, leadership can sometimes be hesitant of hiring persons with disabilities and be fearful that the person will fail and they will be blamed. She said that employees with disabilities have issues that arise just like any other employee, and that leadership must effectively supervise to ensure the employee with disabilities is successful, just as they would for other employees.

During the event, MercyOne Market Director of Human Resources Dan Tallon also offered insight into the importance of compliance as an HR leader and that leadership has an opportunity to redesign their work to ensure better engagement with their staff through training and resources available to them thanks to organizations like IVRS.

Watch the entire webinar below:


The Untapped Talent series highlights potential employees that could provide a potential talent pool for Greater Des Moines businesses who may face barriers to employment. Look for more Untapped Talent events here.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.