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Partner Guest Article: Monica Stone, Deputy Director, Iowa Department of Human Rights, on the TalentThursday, July 22, 2021
Have you ever wondered how you can have a voice in government to influence decisions that affect Iowans? Have you wondered how to do that without running for elected office?
One important way Iowans can have their voice heard directly in decision-making is through service on appointed boards and commissions. In state government, there are about 180 different boards and commissions, each with a different type of influence over how government impacts our daily lives. Commissions serve interests in the areas of professional licenses, economic development, arts and culture, environment, commerce, health, employment, education, volunteerism, finance, infrastructure, agriculture, taxation and much more.
Members of state commissions are appointed by the governor from a pool of candidates who have applied through the Iowa Talent Bank (https://talentbank.iowa.gov). The state of Iowa developed the Iowa Talent Bank to enhance the opportunity for all Iowans to learn about appointed boards and commissions and to encourage Iowans to become a more formal part of the civic decision-making process. Many agencies, including the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, and the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council have been instrumental in creating this innovative technology.
The Talent Bank allows any Iowan to examine how and where they can serve on appointed government boards and commissions and communicate their interest and qualifications. The Talent Bank is the link that can bring a qualified, and an overall more diverse, candidate pool into the public service arena. Many times, underrepresented Iowans have challenges accessing government. By having more citizen representation on boards and commissions who can speak to those challenges and develop solutions, we can improve government for everyone.
An evolution is under way, and leaders realize that having input from a wide range of perspectives is a benefit. The Iowa Talent Bank helps leaders reach into diverse communities to achieve that breadth of knowledge on boards and commissions. By submitting your profile through the Talent Bank and applying for boards and commissions that are interesting to you, you help leaders bring new people into the process, and you help build a future of transparency, representation and good decision-making.
For more information or questions about the Talent Bank, please visit talentbank.iowa.gov and choose "contact us."