GOP: A Skilled and Competitive Workforce

July 31, 2017


A Skilled and Competitive Workforce

Summer continues to move right along which means the Iowa State Fair is just around the corner. The State Fair is a wonderful opportunity for families from across the Midwest to spend time together and learn about the impact that agriculture has here in Iowa and around the globe.

The Fair runs this year from August 10-20. I hope you’re able to make the trip to Des Moines and enjoy one of our state’s premier events!

Iowa’s unemployment rate has been near record lows for the last several months with the current rate at 3.2%. This is good news for Iowa, and while more Iowans are working than ever, businesses continue to hire. Unfortunately, employers are struggling to find enough workers with the skills needed to fill their job openings.

Right now, only 58% of Iowa workers between the ages of 25-64 have some form of education or training beyond high school. While this is higher than the 48% mark we were at in 2008, we certainly have an opportunity here.

The Future Ready Iowa Alliance, established by former Governor Branstad, was set up to bring together stakeholders from education, economic development, workforce development, business and industry, and elected officials to address Iowa’s skills shortage. They have set a goal for 70% of Iowa’s workforce to have some form of education or training beyond high school by 2025.

The Alliance recently issued a report titled Metrics that Matter, which details Iowa’s workforce and identifies areas for growth. The report indicates that for Iowa to reach the 70% goal, we need about 127,000 Iowans to attain a degree or credential. They estimate that in order to achieve this goal:

  • 41,000 traditional-age students between 18-24 need to attend college or job training programs following high school
  • 35,000 non-traditional students between 25-64 who have attended some form of college or job training, but didn’t finish, need to return and complete their degree or certification
  • 51,000 adults 25 and older with no previous postsecondary education or job training to earn a degree or certification of some kind.

If we can do that, we will be well on track to reach the 70% goal and put a major dent in our skills shortage.

The report also projects the highest in-demand jobs over the next seven years based on yearly openings and fastest growing jobs. The report shows a wide array of careers where entry-level education varies anywhere from a postsecondary credential to a Doctorate. Some of these careers include:

  • Accountants/Auditors
  • Electricians
  • Teachers
  • Web Developers and Information Security Analysts
  • Wind Turbine Service Technicians

The Future Ready Iowa Alliance will be issuing recommendations to the Legislature later this fall on ways that we can close Iowa’s skills gap and ensure that Iowans have satisfying careers that enable them to raise a family.

We’ll continue our efforts in the Legislature to invest in a skilled and competitive workforce that meets the needs of our employers and equips workers with the skills necessary for 21st century careers. I look forward to working with the Future Ready Iowa Alliance to make Iowa a better place to raise a family or own a business.

To read the full Metrics that Matter report, visit


Tags: , , , , ,

TCR's Iowa Legislative Updates provides content from the leadership of each party's caucus in both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate. We hope you find this to be a valuable resource.

We'd love to hear from you! Feel free to email us by clicking here.