Branstad launches Future Ready Iowa program

Branstad OfficialFrom Press Release


Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today held the first of 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.

“I was pleased to be able to hear from students from across Iowa on how state leaders can work to better prepare our citizens for the careers of today and tomorrow,” said Branstad. “Over the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to hearing from other stakeholders as we explore ways to better align education and workforce training to meet the needs of the employers’ and the highly-skilled careers they have available in our state now and in the future.”

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.

“As I travel across the state, I hear time and again how Iowa employers have career openings available now, but they lack qualified candidates to fill the positions. Strengthening Iowa’s talent pipeline through the ‘Future Ready Iowa’ initiative will help assure students and workers have the career opportunities they deserve, and that business and industry have the skilled employees they need to compete in a knowledge-based economy,” said Reynolds.

For the first meeting, Branstad and Reynolds heard from a panel of Iowa students from across the state. Moderated by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Executive Director Dr. Jeff Weld, the group shared how they believe education can prepare individuals for dynamic careers and lifelong learning while meeting employer needs, growing family incomes, and strengthening communities.

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. Additional roundtable meetings across Iowa will be announced at a later time.