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Iowa needs more skilled workers to expand middle class

February 11, 2015
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Iowa has a shortage of skilled workers. Employers say it's the No. 1 obstacle to growing our economy.

A new report from the Iowa Student Aid Commission highlights the need for training and education after high school. The Condition of Higher Education in Iowa 2014 reports that 36 percent of working-age Iowans hold an associate's degree or higher, but 62 percent of all the jobs in the state by 2018 will require postsecondary education. In fact, seven out of the ten fastest growing occupations in Iowa require some education or training beyond high school.

Skilled workers are in demand because they are more productive, more adaptable and more able to meet the changing demands of the modern economy. The good news is that our community colleges are stepping in to provide the education and training Iowa workers can use to fill job openings. Iowa's community colleges offer programs that meet state and regional economic needs.

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

Many Iowans have taken advantage of worker training programs at our community colleges. Iowa's workforce today represents nearly 25 million credit hours and more than 138 million contact hours related to past and present community college training.

Those who make the commitment to improve their skills see a payoff. Community college students completing their degree have a 24 percent rate of return on their education investment in the first 10 years after completion. They make on average 18.4 percent more 10 years after completing their program than high school graduates.

Spending by Iowa community colleges and their students contributes to the creation of 18,000 jobs across the state and $684 million annually in income. Nearly 84 percent of Iowa's community college students remain in Iowa after graduation, building a stronger workforce and growing our economy.

 
 
 

 

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