Talent - Iowa Chamber Alliance

Talent

Since 1900, Iowa has grown less than 1% annually and current demographic trends put extreme pressure on our businesses. Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, exacerbating already urgent workforce issues. Iowa businesses continue to struggle to find qualified candidates, with the appropriate skills, who are ready to work. Workforce training programs are extremely important, but this should be coupled with a focus on attracting new Iowans and developing the next generation through education from pre-school onward.

Talent Development & Attraction

ICA will continue to push for full funding of the Future Ready Iowa initiative and continued support of its strategic objective to “build Iowa’s talent pipeline.”


We also support programs and training opportunities such as the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program (260E) and the Iowa Jobs Training Program (260F), and Iowa’s Registered Apprenticeship Programs, as these programs offer direct access to skilled training for employers. These programs expand Iowa’s workforce through new employee training, increasing employee skillsets, and improving productivity for employers. In addition, we support conversations about student loan repayment strategies for Iowans with post-secondary degrees and addressing lapses in the provision of child-care in our state.


The ambitious goal of growing Iowa’s population at an accelerated pace will require a variety of strategies that include looking for opportunities to:

  • Ensure state workforce and economic development programs have the ability to address the most pressing employee needs like child-care and student debt;
  • Incentivize and develop opportunities for former Iowans to return;
  • Retain more Iowans from our community colleges, private colleges and universities, and the Regents institutions with potential tools to encourage their graduates to become lifelong Iowans;
  • Address disparities within public support systems to avoid a “cliff effect” that acts as a disincentive for potential employees;
  • Reintegrate Iowans into the work force who deserve a second chance including fully supporting the Governor’s Criminal Justice Work Group as it balances the needs of the new employee and their future employer;
  • Attract new Americans by pushing for a uniform immigration system across all states to vet international talent and policies that welcome those new Americans to Iowa.

Placemaking

Creating attractive places for people to live and work includes developing quality of life projects that leverage local communities’ assets. Community placemaking projects and recreational opportunities are vital components of Iowa’s workforce at-traction and retention strategy. All across the state, each community offers something different that can be enhanced to appeal to current or future workforce. ICA supports partnerships between the state and local communities through sustainable and permanent funding sources and the continued funding for programs to do this such as the Community Attraction and Tourism grant program and the Iowa Mainstreet grant program.


ICA will also advocate for any potential sales tax increase that triggers Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWILL) to include resources for regionally transformative quality of life projects and addresses tax disparities that impact our overall tax climate. We support communities across the state as they develop large scale quality of life projects to attract talent and need the state’s support in addressing our tax disparities that act as an automatic denial for outside investment.

Education

Preparing Iowa’s future workforce means providing a quality education that readies high school graduates for a four-year college, community college, or a vocational training course – all without need for academic remediation – remains a top priority for ICA. This will require sufficient funding for schools; a continued emphasis on STEM; continued adherence to the Iowa Core and a rigorous assessment tool; and additional reforms to elevate Iowa’s student achievement.


ICA supports action on K–12 funding that allows schools to certify their budgets on time, is equitable across the range of Iowa’s diverse school districts and is at a level that is both appropriate and sustainable. As the state addresses the child-care needs of employees, we support a review for resources and provision of pre-school programs to ensure children are provided early opportunities and a strong foundation for life-long learning.

ICA encourages all levels of education – Pre-K–12, community colleges, public and private colleges and universities – to understand the needs of the employment marketplace to ensure workforce-ready graduates. There should be a conscious pursuit of alignment, coordination, and collaboration between business, government, and educational institutions to offer seamless opportunities that best meet the needs of Iowa’s students and workplaces. ICA supports and values robust vocational and higher education programs that further develop a reliable talent pipeline.

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