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Workforce Development a top issue in 2018

2018 is shaping up to be a growth year in Washington County and the CR/IC Corridor, but also a challenging one for workforce and talent attraction.

Washington County's laborforce has been gradually growing over the years, and flexes between 12,600 and 12,900. But unemployment is just 2.1% or about 300 people, only 145 of which are drawing unemployment benefits.

Updated Laborshed Occupational Wage Data 

Back in January 2016, Iowa Workforce Development's Labor Market Information bureau published our Washington County Laborshed Analysis. Periodically, they have provided occupational wage updates for our Laborshed area. This is great data that gives a window into wage trends.

Washington Laborshed Sector Wage Reports, 2017 Q4

Wage data provided is customized to the Washington County Laborshed area which represents the following counties: Henry, Iowa, Jefferson, Johnson, Keokuk, Louisa, Muscatine, Wapello, and Washington. 

Workforce Development Strategies

In November, WEDG hosted a Workforce Development meeting and over 35 employers from around greater Washington County. A number of initiatives and opportunities for employers were presented.

Workplace Learning Connection

Job shadows, internships, workplace tours, literacy fairs, and employer engagement are what Kirkwood's Workplace Learning Connection is coordinating for k-12 students in Washington County (and their 7 County region).
Education is reaching out to employers to connect with students and teachers. Be sure you are reaching out too in 2018.
Check out the WLC's slide deck. Is your company on the list of partners for 2016-17?
Click here if you’d like to sign up to be a Partner or Volunteer with the WLC! Connecting students with employers and careers!


Iowa Registered Apprenticeships

IWD/IowaWORKS can help with sample Registered Apprenticeship plans that you can customize. Think your business isn’t a likely to be a “fit” for apprenticeships? Think again. "New industries are offering opportunities including: information technology, financial services, healthcare, transportation, energy, advanced manufacturing, and hospitality. A Registered Apprenticeship is an appropriate option for all job seekers including women, minorities, youth, people with disabilities, and veterans." IowaWORKS' Kate Pine is a great contact.

Here is Kate Pine’s slide deck and a fact sheet on the program:

Home Base Iowa

Mace Huffman (, m. 319-423-2809) spoke about the retooled Home Base Iowa program that allows participating Employers to search through Veterans resumes, as well as posting jobs for Veterans to find. Is there a good reason that your company is NOT participating in this initiative?

Home Base Iowa web site:


ESGR Statement of Support for Guard & Reserve

Employers were encouraged to sign up on-line for a statement of Support as an employer that works to accommodate employees serving in the National Guard and Reserves.

If you’d like to sign up on-line with an employer Statement of Support for working with employees and families serving in the National Guard and Reserves, go to:
Here is a ESGR Fact Sheet on the Statement of Support program:


Executive Industry Interviews

I try to annually many industry leaders from greater Washington County. Serving our existing business and industry base is a top priority for WEDG.

In January, I'll be reaching out for appointments with 30+ industry executives to get their thoughts and insights into their business and the area community business environment.