Pat Steele, Site Director
Pat Steele is the Site Director for Central Iowa Works, a position he has held since July 2013. He has over 37 years of experience in employment services for people with barriers to employment. Over his career he has worked as an employment specialist, case manager, project manager, executive director and employment services director. He has held positions with Goodwill Industries of the Heartland, Options of Linn County, the Iowa Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the University of Iowa Law Health Policy and Disability Center, Mainstream Living and Optime Life Services.
Pat is also a surveyor for CARF, an international accrediting body, and has done over 155 surveys in 36 different states. He has developed standards for CARF in the area of Workforce Development and Supported Education. Pat helped bring the adult Project SEARCH model to Iowa and established 4 Project SEARCH sites in the state.
He is a former member of the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn school district board of directors where he served as both Vice President and President. Pat and his wife Maria live in Adel, Iowa and are the parents of three children; Bart (deceased), Zach, 29, and Valerie, 27.
Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, Operations Director
Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, Workforce Strategist for Central Iowa Works, has a passion for seeing adult learners succeed. She started her career in education over 15 years ago at a local community college working directly with nontraditional students. She has continued those efforts most recently working to help adult students complete their high school credentials and nonnative English speaking students to learn English, all while helping those same students transition into further educational experiences at the community college. Soneeta worked with community colleges, students and programs throughout Iowa in a state wide initiative to transition Adult Literacy students into post-secondary educational opportunities designed specifically to help those students gain employment in lifelong careers.
Soneeta has extensive experience working with a diverse population of students, staff, instructors, administrators and volunteers. She also has experience working with data collection, budgets, reporting and grant writing. She is a CASAS State Trainer and enjoys training people on new ideas and concepts.
Soneeta hopes to use all of her past experiences and build on her relationships to help in her position at Central Iowa Works. As the Workforce Strategist, she will be working closely with the CIW Program Manager, Workforce Partnership Facilitators and Job Developers to ensure that the needs of job seekers are met, trainings are full, and employers are eager to hire training participants.
Erica Batt, Employment Training Specialist
Erica Batt is an Employment Training Specialist. She graduated from Grandview in 2009 with a major in Human Services. Erica has six years of experience working to help people with disabilities achieve their employment goals. For the previous three years, Erica managed the Project SEARCH internship program based at UnityPoint Health. In this position, Erica developed new internship sites, developed and implemented employment curriculum, and coordinated with department supervisors, families, case managers and other stakeholders. Erica is also experienced in Job Development and Professional Networking to support individuals with barriers to employment.
Currently Erica is facilitating the Central Iowa Works Foundational Work Simulation program. In this program participants are staffed in a simulated distribution company that supplies items for hotels, dormitories and hospitals. Participants apply for positions and fill roles as diversified as General Manager, Comptroller and Order Specialist. Erica also teaches Computer literacy classes covering topics such as basic hardware, internet basics, Excel, PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office products.
Zach Steele, Training Coordinator
Zach Steele is Central Iowa Work’s Training Coordinator for the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) Program. Zach graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 and volunteered in a school in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador after graduation. Since 2011, Zach has worked in employment services, primarily for people with disabilities. While employed at Easter Seals, Zach managed the Project SEARCH DMACC program and graduated two classes. Ninety percent of Project SEARCH DMACC graduates were placed in a job six months of graduation. Zach also worked to start Easter Seals’ Supported Education program in 2014, which allowed individuals with barriers to access and succeed in higher education. As part of the TDL Program Zach facilitates a workplace simulation training program. In this program participants are staffed in a simulated distribution company that supplies items for hotels, dormitories and hospitals. Participants apply for positions and fill roles as diversified as General Manager, Comptroller and Order Specialist. Zach is currently a Masters of Public Administration student at Drake University, taking classes at night and on the weekends.
Amber Ramirez, Employment Navigator
Central Iowa Works Employment Navigator Amber Ramirez is a job developer for the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) Program. Amber graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2006. She is bilingual in Spanish and spent two years in Venezuela teaching English to students of all ages. She has four years of experience working at Iowa Workforce Development, most recently as the Coordinator of the New Iowan Center. While there, Amber assisted hundreds of people new to the state to find employment, create resumes, receive job training and gain the skills needed to advance his or her career.
Amber has joined the TDL Program to connect program participants with employers in the community and job opportunities in a career related to transportation, distribution and logistics. TDL Program students commit 9 weeks to learning new skills, including a logistics and distribution certification and forklift certification.