Dems: Iowa has skilled job openings to fill

February 12, 2016

One of the biggest challenges Iowa faces is ensuring students and workers have good career opportunities, and business have access to the skilled employees they need. But we are on the right track with Iowa’s Apprenticeship Training Program, STEM internships and programs at our community colleges preparing current and future workers.


More than half of employment in Iowa is projected to be in middle-skill jobs by 2022, according to a report by Iowa Workforce Development.


Middle-skill jobs require some education and training beyond high school but less than a bachelor’s degree, such as construction workers, occupational therapy assistants, paralegals and massage therapists. The mean annual wage for middle-skill workers falls between $30,000 and $60,000. The higher paying jobs in that range are often in business operations, finance, healthcare, construction and installation.


While 55 percent of Iowa jobs are expected to be middle-skill jobs in six years, today only 32 percent of workers have what it takes to fill them. In 2012, Iowa had 926,000 middle-skills jobs. That number is expected to increase to 1 million by 2022. That means Iowa needs to step up efforts to meet demand for middle-skill workers.


A statewide meeting on April 19 at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines will address how to train skilled workers and connect them to in-demand careers. The 2016 Future Ready Iowa Summit is an all-day event, open to the public, with space for about 1,000 participants, including business, labor and nonprofit leaders; educators, students and parents; and state and local policy makers. For more information and to register, go to


The Iowa Workforce Development report on Middle-Skill Jobs, which provides employment projections, income forecasts and estimated growth rates, can be found at


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