Iowa's workforce is constantly evolving. But can we help shape that evolution? Recently released data for 2011 demonstrates a growing divide between Iowa's workforce and the emerging jobs, 38% of Iowa's workers are still classified as low skilled. The job opportunities for low skilled workers however are only 18% of the jobs available.
Iowa's job opportunities at the middle skill level now represent 56% of the workforce with only 33% of the workers possessing the skills for these jobs. At the high skilled level the state is fairly evenly matched between job openings and applicants. The largest number of job opportunities in Iowa are those middle skill jobs that require additional training beyond high school, like a specialized training program or community college degree but not a four-year degree.
The recently launched Skilled Iowa Initiative was designed to up-skill Iowa's workforce to meet the demands of Iowa's growing companies. As new jobs are created, the technical skills required to succeed in the job exceed what is currently available among Iowa's workers.
The Skilled Iowa Initiative emphasizes the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) as a tool for certifying the skill set of Iowans to create a base of workers poised to succeed in Iowa's future economy. Nearly 700 employers are committed to recognizing the NCRC as a valuable tool for recruiting and hiring trained employees.
The Skilled Iowa Initiative will improve the job training and marketability of Iowa's workforce and drive future economic growth for the State. Similar initiatives throughout the country have changed the landscape of local economies through programs that incorporate the NCRC assessment system. The assessment was designed to measure individual workers' skills in the areas of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information.
During the employee hiring and placement process, the National Career Readiness Certificate is an effective measure of skills that are often ignored until the employee is on the job. It will assist both the employer and the employee in assessing an individual's growth potential and matching the skill sets required by the job.
Another part of the program is the Skilled Iowa Internship. This program provides people who collect unemployment insurance a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. This Iowa Workforce Development sponsored program links job seekers with firms looking to hire and willing to provide job-skills training. The unemployed workers intern at the participating company for 24 hours a week, for up to eight weeks, while continuing to receiving their unemployment benefits. All workers are prescreened and matched with employer needs.
How do Iowa Employers benefit?
1. Screened, eligible workers for open positions
2. Available to all Iowa businesses
3. Low risk training program
How do Workers benefit?
1. Acquire new skills and obtain current work history
2. Leads to Certified Skills
3. Exposure to potential full-time job opportunities