Future Ready Iowa needs funding to close Iowa skills gap

State officials have high hopes for a bridging a skills gap in the Iowa workforce, aiming to ensure that 70 percent of Iowa workers have training or education beyond high school by 2025.

Most Iowans who want work have a job, Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said in Cedar Rapids Monday. The unemployment rate — 2.6 percent — is at an 18-year low.

Yet there are 44,000 Iowans looking for work, and more than 60,000 job opening across the state.

In many cases, Townsend told the Downtown Rotary, the barrier to people finding work and employers finding people to fill jobs is that skills gap.

About 128,000 Iowans need to be educated, certified and trained to meet Iowa’s workplace needs. About 58.4 percent of the workforce has met the goals of Future Ready Iowa, but that’s up just three-10ths of a percent from the previous year.

“My expectation is that when we do get an appropriation, we would see an increase of certainly more than three-10ths of a percent each year,” she said later.

Click here to read the rest of James Lynch article published on The Gazette website. 

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