Employment

Tim Lucas / flickr

"We gain so much more when we focus on people’s positives," says lawyer, speaker, and freelance disability consultant, Matan Koch.

Koch will speak at Coe College the evening of March 24. Ahead of his appearance, Ben Kieffer talks with Koch about how to encourage the talent, purchasing power, and experience of the disability community.

VIEVU

President Obama made the announcement this week that, in the aftermath of Ferguson and other cases, the White House would call for $75 million over three years to make 50,000 body cameras available to police departments across the country.

Jason Parks

Finding a trustworthy and affordable child care provider is one of the biggest challenges working parents face. At the same time, providers are asked to do demanding and important work for little pay.

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to that problem, says infant and toddler consultant Beth Walling.

"It's like trying to tackle poverty," she says.

Walling is especially concerned, since studies show there's an achievement gap that exists at 10 months of age.

"A 3-year-old’s vocabulary can predict their third grade reading level."

Richard / flickr

What is at the heart of the American dream?

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

After speaking with at least half of the administrative law judges who rule cases for unemployment disputes, State Senator Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) says he’s gathered evidence that the head of Iowa Workforce Development has pressured judges to rule against employees hoping to receive unemployment insurance benefits.  

Mark Botham

What is at the heart of the American dream? Bigger houses, fancier clothes, faster cars... or is it about having time for family, friends and community?

For decades University of Iowa Associate Professor Benjamin Hunnicutt has studied why we work as hard as we do, why we’re work obsessed, and how attitudes about work and leisure in our culture have changed over time. His is also the author of Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream.

On economic progress -

On a strict party-line vote, the Iowa Senate  approved legislation backers  say will help crack down on employers who stiff workers for their wages.   Lawmakers say they hear often from immigrant workers in particular in construction and other industries who say they did the work for contractors but didn’t get paid.   Some employers tell a different story.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

For 25 years CareerCast.com has ranked the best and worst jobs. Their rating is based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. 

Host Ben Kieffer revisits conversations with a biomedical engineer and an audiologist, two jobs that made the best list.  He also speaks to an oil rig worker and a newspaper reporter, two jobs on the worst list.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa's cultural and economic shift away from the family farm created serious problems for the state.  It has also created opportunities for reinvention and creativity.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk / Flickr

The national unemployment rate is 7.6% and in Iowa the rate is at 4.6 %. Recent college graduates and seasoned workers alike are working hard to make a living wage. Host Ben Kieffer looks at how Iowans are getting their foot in the door via internships and working as temporary employees. 

dbelskysuny / flickr

For 25 years, CareerCast.com has ranked the best and worst jobs.   Their rating is based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. Host Ben Kieffer talks with a few people that are on the best and worst lists.  Find out what people in those jobs think about their ranking.  It includes a Biomedical Engineer, an Oil Rig Worker, an Audiologist, and a Newspaper Reporter.   

Facebook

This week, the social networking site Facebook announced plans to build a $1.5 billion data center in Altoona, IA.  On the same day, Google announced a $400 million expansion to its data facility in Council Bluffs. Iowa has a growing tech industry.  What makes Iowa an attractive place for companies like Google and Facebook?  Also, hear about our homegrown technology companies like INVOLTA.

Mark Davitt / Flickr

Michigan is now a so-called right-to-work state, signing into law a bill that prevents unions from requiring employees to pay dues, even in unionized workplaces. It’s being called a political defeat for unions. Will the effects ripple into Iowa?

Ben Kieffer and guests examine the state of Iowa’s unions. Ben talks with leaders of three of the state’s unions, a labor historian, and a state lawmaker.

Pat Blank

A blue and white “Now Hiring” sign hangs on the front of the Wonder Bread bakery in downtown Waterloo.  It’s an outdated sign because not only is the company not adding workers, last Friday it laid off everyone who worked there.  Parent company Hostess has filed for bankruptcy idling nearly 19 thousand workers across the country. A federal judge is considering the case and has agreed to mediation.

Advocates  for higher teacher pay better be upfront about just how much it’s going to cost, and who’s going to cover it, if they want to achieve their goal.    That's according to a representative of Iowa’s school administrators who’s serving on a task force on teacher salaries.

Iowa is facing a shortage of middle-skill workers. Those are people to fill jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree. Host Ben Kieffer talks about Iowa workforce development efforts to fill the gap. And hear from employers and educators about their needs.

Pat Blank

Farm equipment maker Unverferth Manufacturing Incorporated is taking a leap of faith by adding jobs with the help of a 600 thousand dollar boost from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The Shell Rock plant is Butler County’s largest employer with 425 current jobs. The state money will be used to build a  6 million dollar expansion and create 75 jobs over three years.

Christopher Dilts [Barack Obama / flickr]

Iowa ranks in the top 10 states most dependent on manufacturing, and the more than six-thousand manufacturing firms located in the state represent almost 11-percent of all employment.  We continue our summer series on Iowa towns with a look at how manufacturing has shaped the history, economy and education of Iowa communities.