Job creation is our top priority every day at the Iowa Capitol. That focus paid off this week when the Senate approved two pieces of our “Iowa Works” proposal. | From Sen. Amanda Ragan
Job creation is our top priority every day at the Iowa Capitol. That focus paid off this week when the Senate approved two pieces of our “Iowa Works” proposal.
First, we expanded Iowa’s Save Our Small Business Fund (Senate File 301). The recession has made access to capital difficult, so we created low-interest job creation loans for small businesses. Last year, the Legislature set aside $5 million for loans ranging from $2,500 to $50,000 for businesses with 35 or fewer employees. We are now making these loans available to more small businesses and making the first six months of the loan interest free.
Second, we decided to expand a successful worker training program to all parts of the state (Senate File 328). One of Iowa’s biggest job-creation challenges is a lack of skilled workers, according to Forbes 2010 Rankings of the States. We’re asking community colleges to tackle that obstacle by helping workers earn industry recognized certificates that will allow them to quickly fill local job openings. Our new program also fills the gap left by traditional financial aid, which doesn’t cover certificates in welding, nursing assistance and many other fields, even though these skills are in demand.
Work continues on several more job measures, including a health insurance tax credit for small business, a job creation tax cut, a consumer rebate for small-scale renewable energy, eliminating red tape for small businesses, and helping communities revitalize their business districts.