Branstad, Reynolds to launch roundtable to discuss workforce skills gap

Branstad OfficialFrom Press Release


Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced they will launch a series of roundtable meetings across the state to focus on ways to better align education and workforce initiatives to close the skills gap and meet future employer needs. The roundtable series marks the beginning of the “Future Ready Iowa” initiative, which will focus on ways to continue building Iowa’s talent pipeline to ensure our state has a workforce ready to fill the high-quality, well-paying jobs and careers of today and tomorrow.

The first roundtable will be held Wednesday, August 12, 2015, at 1 p.m. in the Governor’s Robert D. Ray Conference Room  at the Iowa State Capitol.  The discussion is open to credentialed members of the media and is expected to last approximately one hour.  Additional roundtables will be announced at a later date.

According to a National Skills Coalition study published in August of 2014, middle-skill jobs account for 57 percent of Iowa’s labor market, but only 50 percent of the state’s workers are trained to meet those workforce needs.

For the first meeting, Branstad and Reynolds will hear from Iowa students from across the state. They will share how the education and training they’re currently receiving could potentially be improved to prepare them for the workforce and rewarding careers. The students expected to attend and participate are as follows:


Name, School

Ben Gillig, University of Iowa

Matthew Stefan, DMACC

Aditi Dinakar, Creighton University

Hannah Rens, Sioux City East High School, Sioux City

David Ewing, Lincoln High School, Des Moines

Daniel Leonard, SWiCC,

Madisen Blackford, Hoover High School, Des Moines

Katie Gilbert, DMACC


The “Future Ready Iowa” initiative comes after Iowa received a National Governors Association policy academy grant in 2014 for up to $170,000 to develop strategies to improve the educational attainment of its citizens and the nimble alignment of those degrees and credentials with employer demand.

The grant will help Iowa continue to advance innovative programs like the Skilled Iowa Initiative, the Governor’s Science Technology, Engineering and Math initiative, Home Base Iowa, the Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training program and other education and workforce initiatives aimed at closing the skills gaps.