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Chad Pierce, corporate marketer for Iowa Workforce Development, has a file on Thursday with information about the Iowa workforce at the Iowa Works office in Fort Dodge. A workforce roundtable with local employers, businesses and educators will be held on the east campus of Iowa Central Community College on Wednesday.

WHAT: Fort Dodge Workforce Roundtable hosted by Iowa Workforce Development

WHO: IWD staff, employers, educators

WHEN: Wednesday 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

O: Iowa Central Community College East Campus, 2031 Quail Ave.

REGISTRATION: To register, visit this link:

• Events are organized at no cost to participants. The seats are limited.

From truck drivers and restaurant workers to nurses and teachers, the labor shortage has left few industries untouched, according to Chad Pierce, corporate marketer for Iowa Workforce Development.

“The shortage of manpower is a problem that persists throughout the country”, Pierce said. “Specifically, here in north-central Iowa with all the manufacturing companies, we see companies unable to fill the positions they fill.”

Pierce believes a variety of factors came together to cause the shortages.

“Certainly the pandemic and the government’s stimulus plans (have played a role)”, he said. “But there are also barriers like child care and transportation. People think differently about what this working relationship looks like. “

Iowa’s unemployment rate was 4.1% for the month of August. The unemployment rate in Webster County in August was 4.4%, one of the highest rates in the state.

In an effort to address the various challenges faced by businesses seeking skilled help, Iowa Workforce Development will host a workforce round on Wednesday in Fort Dodge. The roundtable is part of a series to be held across the state this fall to partner with businesses to address the state’s labor shortage.

All roundtable participants will receive information on existing workforce strategies they can adopt to meet their needs.

Pierce said available resources will also be highlighted to help with hiring and retraining, collaborate with community and educational partners, improve employee skills, and remove barriers such as childcare issues that may sometimes prevent Iowiens from entering the workforce.

Employers, members of local businesses and educators are encouraged to attend.

“We invited several different employers, educators and service providers across the region,” Pierce said. “This is an opportunity to meet and present information on the services available.

Topics such as workplace learning and recorded learning will be on the agenda.

“Encourage companies to think outside the box on the way they hire and train people”, Pierce said. “This is the opportunity to present some of these ideas.

Along with the round tables, companies will also have the opportunity to conduct a labor needs assessment that the state conducts in October and November.

“A team will come and find out some obstacles they are facing and come back with solutions and recommendations”, Pierce said.

Employers interested in organizing a workforce assessment can send an email to [email protected]

Roundtables are designed to be quick, brief and early in the morning to better meet employers’ schedules. This will be the first at Fort Dodge.

“We are looking for good participation”, Pierce said. “I think it will be very beneficial for the community as a whole. “

Potential employees

Residents looking for employment are encouraged to visit the Iowa Workforce Development office, 3 Triton Circle.

“What we’re trying to do at Iowa Works is take away a lot of the barriers that people face, whether it’s help with a resume or interview skills, we try to work in the head- one-on-one with people looking for work. “

Invest in workforce programs

Governor Kim Reynolds announced two new programs to help tackle the labor shortage in Iowa on Wednesday – a new grant program to promote workforce innovation in manufacturing and a new re-employment case management system to refocus the Iowa unemployment system on rapid re-employment.

Iowa will invest a total of $ 30 million in grant opportunities, using federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), to help small and medium-sized manufacturing companies improve workforce innovation. through the retention, recruitment of new employees and the exploitation of technology. solutions to fill vacancies and increase workforce capacity.

Advanced manufacturing is Iowa’s largest industry, accounting for nearly 18% of the state’s gross domestic product.

“Like most other states, Iowa’s continuing labor shortage is a critical situation that must be addressed today,” said Reynolds. “With our current economic vitality, we are ideally positioned to push our economy to new heights. We are committed to providing the necessary support to our advanced manufacturing industry and other affected industries, to overcome this main obstacle and transform this short-term trajectory into long-term, large-scale prosperity. “

The first grant opportunity will complement the existing Manufacturing 4.0 program for small manufacturers, employing up to 75 employees, with $ 5 million. The second grant opportunity will invest $ 25 million to make similar grant opportunities available to mid-sized businesses employing 76 to 250 employees.

In addition, Iowa Workforce Development will soon be launching a new re-employment case management system to help Iowa residents get back to work as quickly as possible.

Currently, unemployment beneficiaries do not have to enter the IWD re-employment process until week five. From now on, IWD will provide one-on-one career coaching during the first week and check the beneficiary’s job search requirements on a weekly basis for those receiving unemployment benefits. With a few exceptions, the weekly job search requirements will also double from two to four and the number of qualified job search activities will drop from 27 to 12.

“With a significant labor shortage, I want to make sure that no Iowan who receives unemployment benefits is left needlessly on the sidelines. This new program and other changes will contribute to this goal ”, said Reynolds.

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