Lee County EDG Announces Grow Lee with Lt. Gov. Reynolds

Published Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lee County, IA, August 9, 2016 –  Lee County EDG announced today they will be expanding their Grow Lee program. Grow Lee has been a collaborative effort, spearheaded and facilitated by Lee County EDG featuring 10 specific workforce initiatives. The goal of the program is to ensure an adequate workforce that is trained and motivated to meet the current and future needs of Lee County employers.

Launched in 2015 with the Year of Action, Grow Lee has met with early success. Lee County EDG developed a Grow Lee Lego Robotics program, allowing over 170 third through sixth grade students to explore engineering, computer programing and develop problem solving skills. Through this and other Grow Lee STEM programs, Lee County EDG has been able to reach over 2,000 Lee County students, increasing our county’s STEM participation by 61%.

Due to the results of Grow Lee, Lee County EDG was recognized in April by the state for Best Overall Business Retention & Expansion program for 2016. This award recognizes the outstanding efforts of local and regional initiatives in supporting growth and expansion of existing Iowa companies.   
“Workforce and business retention and expansion are complex multi-layered issues. Our group decided that bold action was going to be required if Lee County was to thrive in the next decade,” said Lee County EDG COO Dennis Fraise.

The organization’s next steps, Grow Lee 2.0, includes going beyond workforce and impacting areas such as Lee County’s Image and Future Lee. Lee County Image will be taking a critical look at Lee County’s image to create an action plan to with the public relations battle for Lee County, changing the narrative to the positive and growth happening. Future Lee will be looking at our long-term initiatives we are able to start today to transform Lee County through 2026. This will require some big ideas as to where we want to be in 2026 and actionable items to accomplish measurable results. 

Iowa’s Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds helped kick-off Grow Lee 2.0 discussing Iowa’s Future Ready Iowa initiative where 70% of Iowans in the workforce are to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. “Employers across Iowa regularly tell us that they struggle to fill both middle-skill and high-skill job openings,” said Reynolds.

A portion of Future Lee addresses the need for Lee County residents to increase their skillset to remain competitive in the job market. The report, Iowa: Education and Workforce Trends Through 2025, also finds that 68 percent of all jobs are expected to require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. The occupation trends show that social science, education, community services and arts, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are projected to have the largest shares of jobs that require postsecondary education and training.

Grow Lee 2.0 will be a multi-year process that will require a range of individuals working together for a common goal; make Lee County better. To find out more about Grow Lee 2.0, and how to get involved, contact Dana Millard at dmillard@leecoutnyedg.com.

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