Employers, educators and service providers gathered at Cryotech Deicing Technology in Fort Madison to discuss what they are doing to be proactive in the national workforce shortage. Iowa Works Director Beth Townsend stated there are over 60,000 jobs posted throughout the state on the IowaWorks website however only about 42,000 receiving unemployment benefits. This means Iowa needs to tap into different labor pools in order to meet the demand.
Dana Millard, Lee County EDG, “The best part of today was having local employers share what they are doing at a local level with other employers and educators. It really spurs discussion on how we can implement these best practices in multiple locations throughout the county and the area.”
Jeff Hardy, Plant Manager at Independent Can Company has utilized people from Hope Haven and individuals transitioning from the correctional facilities to meet their demand for employees. “I’ve hired people who others wouldn’t,” commented Hardy. “and some of them can be the best employees but you have to be flexible as an employer with your normal protocol.”
Dave Bogner from Roquette America shared how Roquette invested in a simulator to help up-train new and existing workers in order to get individuals with the correct skillset. They’ve also been involved in the schools to develop that talent pipeline.
The group also discussed Registered Apprenticeship opportunities, engaging high school and middle school students, as well as what others are doing to address the skills gap.
The Future Ready Iowa program hosted these employer discussions throughout the state to discuss best practices and funding opportunities for employers in their workforce development efforts.