News from the State House

by Patti Ruff, State Representative

Iowa has always been known for our world class education system. Over the last few years, we’ve worked together to improve our schools and make sure every kid graduates with the skills needed to land a good job in today’s global economy. However, Iowa is facing a severe skilled worker shortage and we’ve got to step up our efforts to help Iowans upgrade their skills.
The facts are compelling. Right now, we have too many workers who are under-skilled with just a high school diploma or below.  Just under 20% of Iowa jobs need low skill workers, but 38% of our workforce has just those basic skills.
In Iowa, about 50% of jobs are middle-skilled jobs, which require some training beyond high school but less than a four year college degree. However, only 33% of Iowa’s workforce is qualified for these middle-skilled jobs.
That’s why we’ve focused our efforts the last few years on building our skilled workforce. We’ve expanded job training at community colleges and apprenticeship programs. We also created new grants to help under-skilled workers get the job training they need to land a good job.
Our skilled worker shortage problem won’t be fixed overnight, but it’s something we have to start working on now. If employers can’t find qualified workers here in Iowa, they’ll go somewhere else and Iowans will be left with fewer opportunities.It’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this or any other issues. Please feel free to contact me anytime at Patti.Ruff@legis.iowa.gov.

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