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Governor Branstad launches Skilled Iowa

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July 26, 2012

Dear Iowa Economic Development Leader:

As Iowa’s economy continues on a growth pattern, it becomes increasingly clear that our current workforce maintains an every growing skills gap. Recent statistics show that fifty percent of Iowa’s current job openings fall within the middle skill range, however on thirty-three percent of the workforce is qualified for the opportunities. On the opposite side, eighteen percent of Iowa’s employment opportunities are considered low skilled, yet thirty-eight percent of the current workforce only have the skill set to fill this type of a job. This divide will only continue to increase as Iowa’s economy grows unless we partner throughout the state to address the issue.

In early June, Governor Branstad launched Skilled Iowa to address the skills gap issue growing in the state. This is a public/private initiative between Iowa businesses, workforce, economic development and education to shrink the gap and ensure that Iowa’s workforce is aligned with the needs of our employers. The Skilled Iowa Initiative is designed to increase the quality of Iowa’s labor force and create connections between unemployed Iowans and businesses with current needs. Overall, we can work towards a common goal of creating Skilled Iowa Communities; areas across the state that can demonstrate a highly-skilled, certified workforce for current and expanding businesses.

Encourage all of your businesses to become members of the Skilled Iowa Initiative to increase our ability to connect a qualified workforce with employment opportunities. As the businesses in your area embrace the initiative, we would encourage you to pursue the Skilled Iowa Community designation as well. Please go to www.skillediowa.org to find additional material regarding the Skilled Iowa Initiative and metrics related to the Skilled Iowa Community designation.

If you have questions regarding the program, please contact Denise Schippers at 515.281.7438 or denise.schippers@iwd.iowa.gov.

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