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New Self-Employment Resource from Iowa: Thinking Outside the Employment Box
Thanks to our colleagues from Iowa who gave our team members Molly Sullivan, Beth Keeton, Cary Griffin, and others the opportunity to assist with self-employment. The leadership that Iowa shows in self-employment is substantial and exemplary!

In 2012, the Mental Health and Disability Services Division of the Iowa Department of Human Services was awarded an Employment Development Initiative (EDI) grant from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Iowa’s EDI grant focused on increasing self employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including serious mental health conditions. EDI funds were used to contract
with the University of Iowa’s Center for Disabilities and Development to coordinate self-employment seminars for Iowans with disabilities and self-employment training webinars for community mental health centers and other providers of employment services. EDI funds also made this publication possible.

With support and assistance, many Iowans with disabilities have created opportunities for themselves through business ownership that would otherwise have been unavailable to them as wage earners. This is particularly true for Iowans in rural areas where jobs that are integrated into the community can be scarce. For individuals who live with fluctuations in daily functioning or challenges adjusting to traditional workplace environments, self-employment can be the best way for them to accommodate their disability, pursue their interests, and earn a living.

Several of these success stories emerged from the EDI initiative and several years of collaborative work by employment and self employment partners, including the Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Iowa Work Incentive Planning and Assistance, the Iowa Department for the Blind, Griffin-Hammis & Associates, and others. We hope this publication will inform and inspire
many more would-be entrepreneurs to pursue their own dreams.


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