A little over three-weeks ago, 37 Iowa Workforce Development Offices closed due to a decision made earlier this year by Governor Terry Branstad, including the office in Atlantic. IWD Officials late last month tried to put a positive spin on the situation, by touting their work to set up an “access point system” to replace those offices, but during Wednesday’s meeting of the Cass County Board of Supervisors, County Mental Health and General Relief Coordinator Teresa Kanning said the promise has fallen through, mostly due to technology issues. She says the information she’s received from IWD and what’s happening in Cass County “Isn’t matching up.” Kanning says she was told there were several access points the unemployed could go to seek help in finding work or filing claims, including the local substance abuse prevention office, but the service is not available because the software support is not available or compatible with current computer systems. She says one of her staffers checked with the Zion Substance Abuse Treatment Center, who said the software was dropped off at the agency, but their staff was not told what to do with it. Yet IWD is still telling people they can access the internet there to check job postings and apply for unemployment.
In fact, this week IWD officials asserted terminals were available for those purposes at a location at the courthouse, but that’s not the case. She says none of the offices in the courthouse has even been contacted about being an access point. Kanning says she’s “Very disappointed in how Iowa Workforce Development has handled (the situation) in Cass County, and concerned about individuals needing to file unemployment claims or check for jobs, who are without computer access. Another site IWD said was available in Cass County, is the Atlantic Public Library. At last night’s Atlantic City Council meeting, Councilman Dana Halder mentioned at a recent Library Board meeting, the topic of the IWD access point was brought up. He said it isn’t available because the software is incompatible with the library’s computers. Kanning said the same thing during the Supervisor’s meeting earlier in the day. Kanning said someone with IWD remarked those persons needing to file claims or look for jobs could use the computers in her office, but she said that’s NOT an option, because her computers have personal information on clients, that is subject to HIPPA rules and regulations.
The Cass County Board of Supervisors are set to meet with Iowa Workforce Development officials next week, to discuss Kanning’s concerns and related matters.