Iowa Workforce Development was pleased to be a part of the recent Professional Developers of Iowa’s Fall Conference as we continue to spread the word about the Skilled Iowa Initiative.
The Skilled Iowa Initiative is working to match up Iowa workers with unfilled positions across the state. Currently, Iowa’s problem is not necessarily a lack of available jobs, but linking up workers with essential skills to employers with open positions.
Half of Iowa’s available jobs fall within the middle-skill range, but only one-third of Iowa’s workforce is qualified for these positions. The Skilled Iowa Initiative’s goal is to lessen this discrepancy and put the right workers in the right jobs.
Iowa has a diverse array of career fields that include the biosciences, manufacturing, financial services, information technology and transportation sectors, plus many more. Though so many career options exist for Iowans, the state’s unemployment rate is still over 5 percent.
Skilled Iowa encourages workers to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate, a certificate that demonstrates a worker’s knowledge and skills in several workplace areas. Workers’ scores are then classified into four different score ratings -- platinum, gold, silver and bronze -- which can be used by hiring employers to gauge a job seeker’s capabilities.
Businesses across the state are taking advantage of the NCRC when hiring employees, with over 700 companies across Iowa recommending the certificate to job seekers. These businesses can then use the score ratings to see if the job seeker is a qualified candidate for their open positions. Businesses benefit from this certification in multiple ways, such as a shortened hiring process and reduced turnover rates.
Workers benefit from earning the NCRC because they can showcase their unique skills and capabilities and stand out from other workers.
Because of the many benefits it offers to businesses and workers alike, the Skilled Iowa Initiative aims to have a much greater share of the Iowa workforce listing the National Career Readiness Certificate on their resumes.
We believe that the Skilled Iowa Initiative will help Iowa in a number of ways.
The program encourages workers to assess their skills, helps employers find qualified workers, and helps the economy grow with a more capable workforce.
With a more skilled workforce, Iowa will become an increasingly attractive place to do business. Iowa Workforce Development is urging community and business leaders, educators, workers and employers to be a part of the Skilled Iowa Initiative’s effort to grow Iowa’s economy. For more information, visit SkilledIowa.org.