New programs aim to help address Iowa’s worker shortage

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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From launching a new business engagement division, to using federal pandemic relief money on a new marketing and recruitment campaign, to helping employers provide dual-language instruction, Iowa’s top economic and workforce development officials shared their ideas for solving the state’s workforce challenges during Thursday’s Iowa Ideas conference.
“We have a population problem in Iowa, right? We have more jobs than there are people to fill them,” state Economic Development Director Debi Durham said during The Gazette’s virtual conference, which continues today.
A list of today’s Iowa Ideas sessions, which are free with registration, can be found at iowaideas.com.

Iowa has about 84,400 open jobs and about 44,700 people unemployed, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
U.S. and Iowa population trends point to a shrinking workforce. Baby boomers are retiring, and birthrates are declining below replacement numbers. Immigrants and refugees have been the biggest drivers of Iowa’s population gains

Immigrants made up 44 percent of Iowa’s population growth from 2010 to 2019, and Iowa’s non-white population increased by 60 percent over the last decade.
Iowa Workforce Development recently launched a new Business Engagement Division, which Director Beth Townsend said is designed to be “a one-stop shop” to help employers find solutions and will create a more efficient state structure for assessing workforce challenges of Iowa businesses.

The new division was created at the direction of Gov. Kim Reynolds. Coinciding with the launch, members and state agency leaders are traveling across the state to speak to employers, the agency said.

In January, Iowa Workforce Development launched a program that Townsend said seeks to get unemployed Iowans back to work as quickly as possible, by providing enhanced services to those filing for jobless benefits at the beginning of the claims process — within the first week. The agency provides career coaching and assists people in finding jobs more quickly, including by helping match their skills with the skills need by local companies with vacant jobs, and connecting them to classes focused on resume writing and strategies for successful job interviews. For those receiving unemployment benefits, their work-search requirements are audited weekly.



“What I really love about this programs is we’ve really been able to help people reach higher than they otherwise would have reached, because we encouraged them” to go after their dream job, Townsend said. “We’re really trying to promote hope, trying to encourage them to do more and be more than they ever felt possible.”
To date, she said Iowa Workforce Development has helped more than 20,000 unemployed Iowans through the program.
“It’s not just about getting employees for employers. It really is finding meaningful work for those that are in the job search,” Durham added.
Townsend also highlighted state officials efforts to recruit and help veterans and veteran spouses find careers in Iowa after they’ve left the military, through Home Base Iowa.


She said the agency has hired five career navigators to help veterans find a job in Iowa and make connections with employers looking for individuals with similar, desirable skill sets, and has helped more than 220 veterans find work in the state.


The pair said state officials also are focused on developing the state’s talent pipeline and providing accessible, affordable pathways for Iowa high school students to receive an education and start a well-paying career in the state through apprenticeships.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of high schools participating“ in registered apprenticeships, Townsend said.
She noted high school students in 140 Iowa school districts will start training as paraeducators as part of a new grant program designed to bring more teachers into the workforce.

The roughly $46 million Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Grant Program allows high school students and adults to train as classroom aides, ultimately earning a paraeducator certificate and working toward an associate degree, and allows current paraeducators to earn a bachelor’s degree and a full teaching license.

Townsend said the program may lead to the certification of 1,100 new teachers and paraeducators.

Despite setbacks and workforce challenges posed by COVID-19, Durham said the pandemic has provided some silver linings.
She said market research shows that with the rise of companies adjusting to remote work opportunities, 7 in 10 Americans are likely to consider moving for the right opportunity. State officials have used federal pandemic relief funds to seize on that opening through a $10 million marketing campaign touting Iowa as a destination.

The campaign is built on research around the perceptions of Iowa, showing that most Americans simply don’t know enough about the state to form an accurate opinion.
“We’re not countering a negative brand,” Durham said. “For us, it’s really about an introduction. It begins with, ‘We haven’t been properly introduced.’”

She said market research shows Americans willing to relocate are looking for affordability, economic vitality, a diverse and healthy job market and outdoor recreation.
“We believe Iowa checks all of those boxes,” she said.

Durham said the state also continues to recruit new employers to the state, even with the tight labor market. Those recruitment efforts have been focused on manufacturing and bio-based chemicals, using biomass to create bio-based products that are healthier, sustainable and alternatives to petrochemical products.
“For the very first time, that value proposition is making economic sense,” Durham said of new and emerging technologies. “There’s a ton of money chasing it.”

 

TheCainer

HR Legend
Sep 23, 2003
24,272
18,561
113
Iowa has about 84,400 open jobs and about 44,700 people unemployed, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
U.S. and Iowa population trends point to a shrinking workforce. Baby boomers are retiring, and birthrates are declining below replacement numbers. Immigrants and refugees have been the biggest drivers of Iowa’s population gains

Immigrants made up 44 percent of Iowa’s population growth from 2010 to 2019, and Iowa’s non-white population increased by 60 percent over the last decade.


Sounds like the governor should be down on the border arranging transportation for migrants and refugees to come to Iowa. Instead governors DeSantis and Abbot keep shipping them to sanctuary cities in order to own the Libs.

That makes sense.

4ytkal.jpg
 

ihhawk

HR Legend
Feb 4, 2004
23,115
20,022
113
Fort Lauderdale
Iowa has about 84,400 open jobs and about 44,700 people unemployed, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
U.S. and Iowa population trends point to a shrinking workforce. Baby boomers are retiring, and birthrates are declining below replacement numbers. Immigrants and refugees have been the biggest drivers of Iowa’s population gains

Immigrants made up 44 percent of Iowa’s population growth from 2010 to 2019, and Iowa’s non-white population increased by 60 percent over the last decade.


Sounds like the governor should be down on the border arranging transportation for migrants and refugees to come to Iowa. Instead governors DeSantis and Abbot keep shipping them to sanctuary cities in order to own the Libs.

That makes sense.

4ytkal.jpg
I don’t think there are 40,000 tomato line king jobs open
 

lucas80

HR King
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2008
99,798
132,518
113
Iowa has about 84,400 open jobs and about 44,700 people unemployed, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
U.S. and Iowa population trends point to a shrinking workforce. Baby boomers are retiring, and birthrates are declining below replacement numbers. Immigrants and refugees have been the biggest drivers of Iowa’s population gains

Immigrants made up 44 percent of Iowa’s population growth from 2010 to 2019, and Iowa’s non-white population increased by 60 percent over the last decade.


Sounds like the governor should be down on the border arranging transportation for migrants and refugees to come to Iowa. Instead governors DeSantis and Abbot keep shipping them to sanctuary cities in order to own the Libs.

That makes sense.

4ytkal.jpg
Imbedded in that is one statistic that drives the mania of Iowa’s GOP, and it’s base. The Latino population and other non white immigrant growth is surging, and that upsets some people.