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Lee County, Iowa

Located in the heart of America in the southeastern portion of Iowa, Lee County not only embodies Midwestern charm, but is home to a multitude of Fortune 500 and international companies that are continuously growing. Located along the Mississippi River and centered between Interstates 80, 35, 55 and 70.


Manufacturing Jobs

Potential Regional Labor Force

Students Participate in Grow Lee Programs


of Lee County Schools participate in STEM Scale-Ups

Grow Lee

A Workforce/Business Retention and Expansion project focused on growing and increasing the quality of Lee County’s workforce

Grow Lee is a collaborative effort spearheaded and facilitated by Lee County EDG

Goal:  Ensure an adequate workforce that meets the current and future needs of our employers.

One-on-one Synchronist interviews were conducted with industries representing Lee County’s top 20 employers. These companies represent over 4,000 workers, or 94% of manufacturing employees in Lee County.  Data from the Synchronist interviews determined workforce to be the No. 1 Business Retention and Expansion issue facing Lee County industries.  

Lee County EDG has hosted 15 Talent for Today and Tomorrow over four years to solicit input from our investors and Lee County stakeholders. Information from these meetings, combined with data collected from our Synchronist interviews, to form a program of action called Grow Lee.

Initially, Grow Lee consisted of 10 workforce initiatives however through collaboration it has expanded beyond the original programs. The initiative was designed to develop a pipeline of workers for current and future careers. The programs included a Lego Robotics program for elementary school students, to an employabiltiy class for high school students called 12 Plus, and up-training our existing workforce through stackable certificates utilizing our community college's new Industrial Technology Center.   

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Key Industries

Latest News

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

International Economic Development Council Announces the Appointment of New Board Member for 2021

The Nominations Committee of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has elected Dennis Fraise, CEcD, President and CEO of Lee County Economic Development Group, to serve on the IEDC Board of Directors. The nomination took place during IEDC's 2020 Annual Conference, which ran from October 13 -16, 2020. Mr. Fraise’s term begins on January 1, 2021.

“Mr. Fraise has been an invaluable part of IEDC’s member community,” said Kenny McDonald, CEcD, President and Chief Economic Officer of One Columbus and 2020 Chair of the IEDC Board of Directors. ““From his popular economic development podcast, DevelopThis!, to his leading role on our Membership Development Advisory Committee, his dedication to our profession and to IEDC has been exceptional.”

Dennis Fraise joined the Lee County Economic Development Group as Capital Campaign Coordinator in 2013. He has served as Chief Operating Officer, Senior Economic Developer, and currently is the President and CEO. During his tenure, the Lee County Economic Development Group has won numerous state and national awards for their creative and innovative programs and work.

“I am humbled and honored to have been selected to serve on the IEDC Board of Directors. My election is a testament to the quality of work the Lee County EDG team has done over the past 7 years. I look forward to bringing a rural voice to the national economic develop discussion and learning from my peers from all over the United States and abroad,” said Fraise.

“We look forward to his leadership in this new role,” Jeffrey Finkle, President and CEO of the International Economic Development Council said. “Mr. Fraise has been instrumental in improving the accessibility of our services, and his new role will only help IEDC continue to expand our service offerings to fill the needs of our diverse base.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Lee County Receives Home Base Iowa Designation

October 14, 2020– Governor Reynolds recognized Lee County as one of the newest Home Base Iowa Communities in Iowa at the 11th Annual Statewide Veterans Conference yesterday. Becoming a Home Base Iowa Community helps recruit new veterans to our county and match them with local career opportunities.

"Working together, we can make Iowa the state of first choice for Veterans, transitioning military personnel and their families,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development.

Home Base Iowa designates qualified communities as centers of opportunity for military veterans based on four standards:
Within a designated community, at least 10 percent of eligible, hiring businesses must become HBI businesses and pledged to hire veterans,
Community develops its own incentive package for veterans,
Community prominently displays HBI Community designation, and
Community must obtain a resolution of support from the appropriate local governing body

“We are excited to receive this designation,” commented Lee County EDG Project Director Dana Millard, who spoke at the conference. Lee County EDG put together a steering committee of representatives from the Lee County Board of Supervisors, Keokuk and Fort Madison chambers and industry representatives that were also veterans themselves to help guide the process. “It was important for us to include local veterans in our process,” stated Millard. “We wanted to make sure we were creating something that veterans actually wanted.”

"We are grateful to see Lee County join other communities in receiving the Home Base Iowa designation. The entire community can be proud of this remarkable accomplishment and commitment towards our Veterans, military personnel and their family members" said Jathan Chicoine, Home Base Iowa Program Manager for State and Strategic Initiatives.

Lee County EDG plans on continuing to add to the program and provide value not only to our veterans but local industry who are looking for skilled workforce who possess the traits many who serve in the military obtain through their service.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Millard Named Co-Chair of Southeast Iowa STEM Board

The Southeast Iowa STEM Region Advisory Board met on Thursday, September 17, for their first meeting of this academic year. We are pleased to announce that Daniel D'Alessandro of Le Claire and Dana Millard of Keokuk were selected by their peers to serve as Co-Chairs for FY 2021.

Dana has served on the Southeast Iowa STEM Regional Advisory Board for almost 6 years. She has also served on the statewide STEM Communications Advisory Committee for the past 3 years. She has worked to connect educators and industry to provide opportunities to youth and inform them about the great STEM careers available in Iowa.

The Governor's STEM Advisory Board is comprised of some of the area's most active members of STEM fields through government, education, and industry. The SE Iowa Region covers 66 school districts and 17 counties on the eastern portion of the state. She will be representing our region at the state level, sharing best practices and contributing to the future of STEM education.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Buy Lee County Program Pumps Over $60,000 into Lee County Economy

The Buy Lee County program has been met with overwhelming support from our communities. The program allows individuals to purchase $30 in Chamber Checks from the Fort Madison Chamber or Keokuk Kash from the Keokuk Chamber for $20.
Through the four rounds, spread out one per month since May, over 2,000 certificates have been sold equaling $63,000 that will be spent in Lee County.
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