2021 Iowa Summit

Expand your workforce and learn how to make disability a component of your diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the Iowa Summit on Disability Employment.

The Iowa Summit on Disability Employment connected Iowa business leaders, human resource experts and disability service providers to discuss ways to solve some of Iowa’s greatest workforce challenges, from hiring to engagement and retention. The event was an opportunity for businesses to learn how to foster a robust and qualified talent pipeline, build an inclusive workplace culture and accelerate inclusive leadership to realize organizational value. At the Iowa Summit on Disability Employment, spectators also learned about the business argument for adding employees with disabilities to staff and gained practical knowledge on how to recruit, hire and retain new employees.

As society’s attitudes on disability have changed over time, efforts to be more inclusive of people with disabilities have grown significantly. Since its creation, The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement has worked extensively to collaborate with global leaders in business, government and advocacy to foster inclusive and integrated work environments for people with disabilities.

Event Highlights

  • Message from Senator Tom Harkin: Senator Harkin discussed the importance of hiring employees with disabilities and enhancing equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace
  • State of Iowa’s workforce landscape: Local and national experts provided insights into Iowa’s labor market and the role employees with disabilities can play in addressing labor shortages
  • Putting vision into action: Iowa businesses discussed the benefits they’ve seen from a diverse workforce
  • Small-group breakout sessions: Groups participated in an in-depth understanding of language, law, leadership and longevity

Iowa and national business leaders who shared about their experiences, best practices and business results:

  • Hy-Vee
  • Sukup Manufacturing
  • Templeton Rye
  • GoldmanSachs
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Microsoft
  • Miniat Meats
  • T-Mobile


Bloomberg Column: Diversity Must Include People with Disabilities

Read a recent column by Senator Tom Harkin and Harkin Institute Fellow Robert Ludke explaining why disability must be a component of any diversity, equity and inclusion plan.

“It’s impossible for a company to consider its board of directors truly diverse and inclusive if people with disabilities are not acknowledged as able to provide expertise and insights that foster long-term value creation by companies — for investors and society alike.”

Continuing Education

The Iowa Summit includes contact hours for re-certification credits. While there is not a pre-assigned program number, as an attendee, you are able to submit the conference programs you attend for re-certification credits. These hours are available for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

COVID Safety Guidelines

The Harkin Institute will take appropriate measures to ensure this event follows appropriate health and safety guidelines. Additional information about safety protocols will be shared closer to the event.

Thank you to our sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors who make this event possible. There is still time to sponsor the Iowa Summit on Disability Employment! Showcase your organization and boost awareness of your work among Iowa’s top business leaders and disability advocates. Contact Joseph Jones at joseph.jones@drake.edu.






Address: 2800 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311

Phone: (515) 271-3623

Email: harkininstitute@drake.edu

Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.