CLINTON — Clinton’s Skyline Center did what most organizations would do after reaching their 50th anniversary — they celebrated.
But one thing set their celebration apart from most: a visit from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.
The governor and lieutenant governor visited Skyline Center’s warehouse Friday to learn more about what the organization does to employ and assist individuals with disabilities.
Skyline’s Operations Manager Glenn Schilling gave the state leaders a tour of the warehouse, where their consumers produce items such as cotton-cleaning products and store displays for Nestle Purina products.
“It’s really driven on the consumers as far as what they want to do. Do they want to come here and work? Do they want to work in the community? Do they want to work here and get the skills and then work in the community? That is basically what we provide,” Schilling said.
Branstad applauded Skyline leaders for the efforts to employ Clinton and area residents at a piece-rate in their warehouse, help them secure jobs and live in the community and provide home health care.
“One of the challenges we have is having enough people for the jobs that are being created. And a lot of people with disabilities are unemployed and underemployed and this is a company that has done a good job not only providing employment, but also providing services,” Branstad said.
Figures from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy show that across the country, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is nearly twice as high as it is for those without disabilities at 13.1 percent.
“We need to make sure that employers know that there are a lot of people with disabilities that have the ability and have the commitment to be good employees,” Branstad said. “People tend to be happier and healthier and they’re able to support themselves and be more independent so it’s a win-win all the way around.”