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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
Brent Willett
PDI President
PDI Offers Workforce Summit

Economic development organizations are learning more and more each day that in order to deliver effective results in their communities, workforce development must be a key strategy. Through Synchronist visits across Iowa, we have learned that there is a massive skills gap in our workforce that must be filled if we can hope to be globally competitive. A number of initiatives have been put in place to address the issues faced by Iowa’s companies, and, if you’re anything like me, you need them sorted out for you.

In February, PDI will offer a one-day Workforce Summit for just this purpose. The Summit will provide statistics about Iowa’s workforce and where economic developers can find data specific to their community. The Summit will provide information on Iowa Workforce Development’s Skilled Iowa program and how communities can utilize the program to become a Skilled Iowa Community. Iowa community colleges will discuss the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (I-AM) and how they are working to address the middle-skills gap faced by Iowa manufacturers. You will hear overviews of the various workforce initiatives as well as testimonials from communities and companies who are benefitting from the programming.

The PDI Workforce Summit will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Des Moines Area Community College - Ankeny Campus. Registration information will be available soon.

Lastly, we want to thank you for your past support and participation in the Professional Developers of Iowa organization. It's our membership’s commitment to the organization and the growth of our state that enables our continued success. It’s that time of the year when we are seeking membership renewals to enable the organization to continue working with and for you.

You are part of a grassroots network of economic developers, community planners, elected officials, and persons involved in the promotion of economic development and the growth of Iowa. Without your participation and dues support, the Professional Developers of Iowa cannot fulfill its commitment to helping your community have a voice in government as well as assisting with your professional growth.

The Professional Developers of Iowa organization is where hands-on work takes place throughout the year to safeguard the tools leading to the improvement of Iowa. Renew in PDI and be directly involved in shaping the important issues keeping Iowa strong, safe and vibrant.

Your membership means that the Professional Developers of Iowa can continue to be an active and vital part of the community.

Your participation and dues support make these and other valuable services possible. Every member strengthens PDI’s political clout while broadening our ability to offer a wide range of educational opportunities for our members. Even when you don't have the time to be personally involved, your membership dues support the actions of other PDI members who work for better economic development tools and progressive policies. As a member, you make everything we do possible.

Please renew your membership in the Professional Developers of Iowa by contacting PDI Headquarters with credit card information or request a new dues invoice before the end of the month so you can continue to receive benefits without interruption. Contact Lynn Harkin or Kelly Kipping at and renew TODAY!

We thank you for your membership in the Professional Developers of Iowa. Your involvement is important and very much appreciated.


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa

Patty Manuel & Tami Petsche
PDI Membership Co-Chairs


 Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Projects to Create Jobs in Seven States

Kentucky Medical Clinic, Indiana Industrial Park, Missouri Vocational Training Facility among those selected

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of recipients for grants and loans to help spur economic development and create or save jobs in rural communities in seven Midwestern and Southern states.

"This funding will help rural businesses create sustainable, quality jobs," Vilsack said. "These projects demonstrate the Obama Administration's ongoing commitment to ensure that rural communities attract the investments they need to support business development.

More Information >>



 PDI Grow Iowa Day

PDI Grow Iowa Day at the Capitol 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
(Exhibitors set up at 9:30 a.m.)
State Capitol, Des Moines, IA


9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Booth Set-Up
Location: The first floor of the Capitol – Rotunda
*You should be able to load/unload your vehicle from the west front entrance of the Capitol.

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. – Legislative Briefing – Update from PDI's Legislative Committee
Co-Chairs and PDI's lobbyists.
Location: The first floor of the Capitol – Rotunda – In front of West Entrance – Behind PDI Registration/Pizza Tables.

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – PDI's Legislative Event – An opportunity to mingle with legislators and staff while enjoying free pizza and refreshments!
Location: The first floor of the Capitol - Rotunda

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. – Booth Breakdown
Location: The first floor of the Capitol - Rotunda.

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Legislative De-Briefing
Location: The first floor of the Capitol – Rotunda – In front of West Entrance – Behind PDI Registration/Pizza Tables.

For more information, go HERE >>



 City Newsletter Receives Top Honor

Sioux City has received 1st place for the City Progress newsletter from the Mid-America Economic Development Council (MAEDC).The regional organization presented its annual Economic Development awards at the 2012 Mid-America Competitiveness Conference & Site Selector Forum, held December 2-4 in Chicago. Sioux City Economic Development Director, Marty Dougherty, attended the conference and accepted the award on behalf of the City.

More Information >>

 Business Retention & Expansion Awards 2013

The PDI Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Awards Program recognizes the contribution of BRE to the success of local and regional economic development initiatives.

Purpose of Award: To increase the focus on BRE in economic development organizations by identifying programs and projects that have significant impact on Iowa communities.

More Information >>

 Report: Full job recovery in Iowa could take 18 months or more
State ranks in middle percentage of workers at or below poverty rates

by Dave DeWitte, The Gazette, December 19, 2012

Iowa’s economy is still 18 months away from regaining all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession at the current pace of job creation, according to a new report.

The Iowa Policy Project’s annual State of Working Iowa report said the current job recovery is taking place more slowly than any of the modern recessions in 1980, 1981, 1990 or 2007.


 Governor Touts Skilled Iowa Program in Marshalltown
Community among leaders in the state

By Andrew Potter - Staff Writer, Times-Republican, December 19, 2012

The need to match skills of a potential workforce to the available jobs is part of new state initiative called Skilled Iowa.

Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert visited Marshalltown Community College Tuesday to promote the program.

This Skilled Iowa initiative allows for a National Career Readiness Certificate test to be taken by high schoolers to see what skill sets they have. This NCRC certification is especially important for those that don't plan to attend four-year colleges.


 Gas Tax Hike Hinges on Rural Money
By Rod Boshart, Lee-Gazette Des Moines Bureau, December 27, 2012

Fragile efforts to ignite a gas tax debate in the 2013 Legislature will flame out if urban lawmakers try to inject a rewrite of the formula for distributing road-use tax fund revenues into the mix, backers and skeptics agree.

With the next election nearly two years away, supporters of increasing the state's motor fuel user fee — as Gov. Terry Branstad prefers to call it — see the 2013 legislative session as offering a 50-50 shot at best to bump up rates for the first time since 1989.




With the unveil of PDI's new website scheduled
for the second week of January, vendors now have a prominent place
on the home page to advertise!

Check out the rates for the PDI newsletter and/or website at:


Registration Information Coming Soon!
February 26, 2013
DMACC...Building 7. . . . . . .Lakefront Room
2006 South Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny, IA 50021


Is workforce a top issue for your organization?

PDI is planning a WORKFORCE SUMMIT to address the issue with information, tools, best practices and resources.

PDI Grow Iowa Day is Wednesday, February 27, 2012. Plan to attend both events!

For more information contact

 Job Postings:

President and Chief Executive Officer, GMMCI, Muscatine, IA
Economic Development Coordinator, Cedar Rapids, IA
Director Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) Clinton, IA

More Information >>



 Business Retention and Expansion Course

University of Minnesota Extension is pleased to again offer a course in Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) strategies for economic development (ED) and community development (CD) professionals and stakeholders. Our redesigned and updated course, “Business Retention and Expansion in Your Community,” combines both in-person and online learning in a blended approach that offers the best of both worlds. Who should take this course?

More Information >>



 Business Summit

January 7, 2013
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center
833 Fifth Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
More Information & Registration >>

 University of Oklahoma EDI Economic Development Marketing and Attraction Course

January 14, 2013 - March 11, 2013 - Online registration coming soon.

 PDI Workforce Summit

February 26, 2013
DMACC Building 7, Lakefront Room
Ankeny, IA

 PDI Grow Iowa Day at the Capitol 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Iowa State Capitol Complex, Des Moines, Iowa

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute

March 10-14, 2013
NCED Conference Center and Hotel
Norman, Oklahoma
More Information & Registration >>

 PPP Course - The Partners, the Profession and the Process

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
5400 University Avenue
West Des Moines, Iowa
To attend:

 Getting to Know The Authority

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
1:00-4:00 p.m.
Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309 [TENTATIVE]
-Registration information available in mid-January

 Heartland Economic Development Course

April 21-25, 2013
Blue Springs, MO
[PDI Scholarships are available thru 3/31/13] - (800) 782-9520

 PDI Spring Event

In conjunction with the SMART Conference
May 1-3, 2013
Renaissance Savery Hotel, Des Moines, IA

 2013 C2ER Annual Conference & LMI Training Institute Annual Forum

May 20-25, 2013 Nashville, TN Full agenda coming in January More information >>

 University of Oklahoma EDI Entrepreneurship Course

June 10, 2013 - August 5, 2013 - Online registration coming soon

 University of Oklahoma EDI Strategic Planning Course
More Information & Registration >>

 PDI Fall Conference

September 25-27, 2013
Park Place Event Centre
Wingate by Wyndham and AmericInn Hotel
Cedar Falls, Iowa

 PDI Fall Conference

SEPETMBER 24-26, 2014 (new date)
Honey Creek Resort State Park
Moravia, Iowa

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute

October 20-24, 2013
University Place Conference Center and Hotel
Indianapolis, Indiana
More Information & Registration >>

 University of Oklahoma EDI Economic Development Marketing and Attraction Course

November 4, 2013 - January 13, 2014 - Online registration coming soon.

For more information, contact Lynn Harkin, PDI Headquarters at (515) 243-4585 or Email

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