The future of Iowa’s economy depends on a highly skilled workforce that is ready to compete with workers from around the globe. Iowa can compete and win in this global economy as long as we invest in education and job training to build our skilled workforce.

Iowa is facing a skilled workforce shortage. Over 56% of the jobs in Iowa require more than a high school diploma, but only 33% of our workforce has this skill set right now. That means Iowa needs to expand job training opportunities for workers to upgrade their skills and make sure Iowa students are getting the right skills to close the skills gap.

To give Iowa students a head start, Iowa must create new partnerships between high schools, community colleges, and local businesses to create hands-on learning opportunities to better prepare students for future jobs and keep them in Iowa. Expanding tuition grants for students will also give more Iowans an opportunity to attend an Iowa community college to help develop the skills needed to land a good job.

The Legislature should also freeze tuition again next year at state universities and expanding grants to students attending private college so higher education is affordable and accessible to all Iowans.

Iowa’s skilled worker shortage problem won’t be fixed overnight, but it’s something that requires immediate action by the Legislature. If employers can’t find qualified workers here in Iowa, they’ll go somewhere else and Iowans will be left with fewer opportunities.