Date of Award
Master of Arts
In recent years there has been a growing dialogue on the middle skills gap in the United States. Federal and state legislators have been tasked with examining policies as they relate to education and workforce training and the impacts they have on workforce shortages in key industry clusters.
With a large number of impending retirements across the country, these discussions have a new sense of urgency. For states like Iowa that have already begun to experience the decline in skilled workforce, this has become a serious problem for both current and future economic growth.
Funding to education and training programs targeted at raising the skill level of workers for middle skills jobs has been on the decline in a time when it is arguably most needed. With fierce competition for federal and state support, it has been difficult for community colleges and workforce development offices to attain the funding levels needed for programming to address skilled worker shortages.
The purpose of this study is to create the case for a policy recommendation on increased funding to education and workforce training programs in the state of Iowa. It addresses current and future demographics for the state of Iowa as it compares to workforce needs, as well as looking at the implications for current and future economic growth if we maintain the status quo.
Based on projected patterns of the contracting workforce due to the large number of retirements versus replacement workers, the findings illustrate that in order to remain globally competitive, Iowa must invest in a variety of education and workforce training programs.
Traditional K-12 to post-secondary graduates will not cover the anticipated workforce shortage, so programs aimed at enhancing the skill level of our current workforce will be necessary in order to simply maintain existing business. The findings also illustrate how the return on investment in education and workforce training programs will better position Iowa for future economic development competition.
Almoayed, Jasmine, "The economic development case for increased funding to education and workforce training in Iowa for middle skills jobs: A policy recommendation" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13245.