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Upmeyer: “Putting Iowans back to work will continue to be one of our highest priorities”

CAL Community School District Board Member Mitch Vanness and Superintendent Dwight Widen, visited the Capitol this week to discuss education policy. CAL Community School includes the towns of Coulter, Alexander, and Latimer in Franklin County.
CAL Community School District Board Member Mitch Vanness and Superintendent Dwight Widen, visited the Capitol this week to discuss education policy. CAL Community School includes the towns of Coulter, Alexander, and Latimer in Franklin County.

From Rep. Linda Upmeyer –

Passing legislation and promoting policies that encourage an environment for job creation in our state is something we have been focused on for many years. Putting Iowans back to work will continue to be one of our highest priorities this legislative session.

It is incredibly important to remain focused on passing legislation that both attracts and maintains businesses in Iowa. Ensuring the state budget is responsibly and efficiently managed, and seeking opportunities to provide property tax relief for all classes of property are both important components of promoting a strong business environment.

Having a highly-trained workforce is another essential factor to encouraging an environment for businesses to grow in Iowa. Employers need confidence that students are graduating with the skills needed to be successful and productive in their workplace; however more and more are reporting the opposite.

Last summer, Iowa Workforce Development released a report that showed Iowa has a worker shortage gap when it comes to ‘middle-skilled’ jobs. The report found that 50% of jobs in Iowa are ‘middle-skilled’, however, only 33% of the current workforce is qualified for these positions. The report also stated that only 18% of the jobs in Iowa are ‘low-skilled’, but that 38% of the current workforce is made up of these ‘low-skilled’ workers.

These are good jobs that pay well and offer healthy benefits! They require strong technical skills and should not be overlooked. Parents, students, guidance counselors, and teachers need to ensure they take a close look at these career opportunities when thinking about our current workforce needs.

In the Statehouse, we are working hard to pass a variety of policies that will best prepare our graduates and current job seekers for today’s workforce, including comprehensively reforming our education system, promoting more opportunities in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)-related fields, and investing in our educational institutions to provide cutting-edge career readiness training. Our goal is to promote career readiness and opportunities for future generations to prosper in Iowa.

We are committed to looking for more opportunities to partner with our education providers and members of the business community to address Iowa’s worker shortage and skills gap. There is no doubt that Iowa’s economic future depends on a well-trained and skilled workforce. In order to grow Iowa’s economy, we must invest in quality training for the next generation of Iowa’s workers.

I had the pleasure of meeting with many visitors at the Capitol this week, including many local school board members and superintendents. I know not everyone was able to travel to Des Moines this week, which is why I look forward to continuing conversations regarding education policy back home as we move forward.

Thank you for providing me with your feedback over the past few weeks. It is always great to hear from you and I strongly value your input. Do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts and concerns anytime at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618.

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