Sukup hosts workforce development summit

Business leaders, educators, legislators and economic development professionals came together on Tuesday, Oct. 2 for the Future Ready Iowa Summit at Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield. TRAVIS FISCHER

Business leaders, educators, and economic development professionals came together at Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield on Tuesday, Oct. 2 for the Future Ready Iowa regional summit.

The day-long event invited various North Iowa community leaders to brainstorm solutions to the challenges of economic growth in rural Iowa. With critically low unemployment in the state, Iowa businesses are struggling to find qualified people to fill needed positions, a problem exasperated as the Boomer generation enters into retirement age.

“We know there is a skill gap coming up,” said Kristle Percy, Business Marketing Specialist with IowaWORKS, part of the state’s Iowa WorkForce Development agency. “We really need a call to action.”

The day was filled with speakers from all fields, addressing problems facing Iowa’s employers and issues holding back employees, such as lack of child care and the struggle to draw new people to the area.

Much of the focus was on addressing the need for more post-secondary education opportunities for Iowans.

While Iowa enjoys a strong rate of high school graduates, not enough are receiving the secondary education needed for today’s jobs.

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