The Lack of a Trained Workforce Haunts Economic Development Efforts in Iowa

Feb 22, 2018

The Iowa Business Council is out with its 6th annual Competitive Dashboard, which looks at how the state stacks up against other states on economic development. It raises concerns about the preparedness of Iowa’s workforce.

Georgia Van Gundy, executive director of the Iowa Business Council
Credit Iowa Business Council

The IBC is calling the need for a trained workforce a major concern and challenge for Iowa employers. The Council’s executive director, Georgia Van Gundy, says the state is rightfully praised for its high school graduation rate.

“But what we don’t have then is for individuals who go on to post-graduate training," she says. "Whether it’s community college or a four-year institution, they are not getting that type of training and those are the types of individuals we need for the jobs in Iowa.”

Van Gundy says the makeup of the state’s population is also a problem.

“We’re poor as far as demographics and diversity," she says. "In the state of Iowa, our population has not grown much at all and we are not a very diverse population, so in order to meet those job needs we have, we definitely need to grow our population in the state.”

To remedy the situation, Van Gundy says the Iowa Business Council is pledging to hire 30,000 interns and apprentices by 2025. It is also forming a Business Education Alliance to create strategies to address current and future workforce needs.