Since launching in the summer of 2012, the Skilled Iowa Initiative has had impacts across every county in Iowa. To date, over 6,500 Iowa businesses have signed on in support of the initiative and over 27,000 Iowans have certified their skill sets through the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). While Skilled Iowa has made tremendous strides across the state, Iowa is still dealing with a skills gap affecting the middle skill jobs. Continued partnership across the state is critical to ensure Iowa has a skilled workforce to meet the demands of growing industries.
One of the cornerstones of the Skilled Iowa Initiative is the internship program, a unique opportunity that connects unemployed Iowans with training opportunities at Iowa businesses. The individuals receive a new transferrable skill through an internship that provides on-the-job training in conjunction with basic skill development all while maintaining unemployment benefits. Although interns are not guaranteed a job at the completion of the program, nearly 55 percent of the interns have received a full-time employment offer.
As the initiative move fully into the second year of the program, Skilled Iowa will further focus efforts on connecting high school students with expansion oriented industries in Iowa. To date, the Skilled Iowa Initiative has provided access to the National Career Readiness Certificate testing to all high schools in the state. High schools all across Iowa have held testing events for students to receive a certification.
"Our students are critical to tomorrow's workforce," stated Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "By embedding the work critical skills of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information into the high schools, our students are receiving a sound platform to begin further education and employment."
The Skilled Iowa Initiative strives to create Skilled Iowa Communities across the state. Des Moines County was the first area to become a Skilled Iowa Community and a half-a-dozen other areas are closely vying to become the second Skilled Iowa Community. In order to become a Skilled Iowa Community, the area must meet the following metrics: 10 percent of the employers covering at least 20 percent of the areas employment must be Skilled Iowa Members, 5 percent of the current labor force has achieve the NCRC certification, and 20 percent of the transitioning labor force must receive the NCRC certification.
To mark the first anniversary of Skilled Iowa, two new publications that detail the changes in the Middle Skills employment sectors and a detailed analysis of the NCRC credentialing in Iowa. Both publications are available at www.iowaworkforce.org.
For more information on the Skilled Iowa Initiative, visit www.skillediowa.org.