Policy and Systems Change: Iowa Skills2Complete Coalition Presents Recommendations for 2017 State Legislative Session
The Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition, convened by Central Iowa Works and with membership representative of nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, labor unions, government agencies and business partners, has presented seven policy recommendations for the 2017 state legislative session.
A new 16-page report draws attention Iowa’s education and workforce trends, alongside occupational examples and recommendations with an emphasis on reducing barriers to employment and closing a growing middle-skills gap in the state.
Priorities laid out as part of the coalition’s 2017 Advocacy Agenda include maintaining current investments in adult basic education; empowering the Iowa State Board of Education to adopt additional pathways to achieve a High School Equivalency Diploma; increasing access to quality and affordable child care; and supporting recommendations to address the state’s direct care workforce needs.
The coalition, acting as an organized voice for “skills” at the state capitol, also recommends support of both public and private transportation initiatives; support of policies that eliminate wage theft to ensure workers are fairly compensated; and support of policies and investments in job training and education that help prepare offenders for successful reentry into Iowa communities.
The 2017 legislative session marks the fourth year that the Iowa Skills2Compete Coalition, in collaboration with Central Iowa Works, the National Skills Coalition, United Ways of Iowa, United Way of Central Iowa and National Fund for Workforce Solutions, has been convened to build greater policymaker support for economic growth in Iowa through investment in the state’s workforce.
“Our call to action reflects a desire to build on smart investments in Iowa’s workforce and industries,” said Pat Steele, Site Director, Central Iowa Works. “The focus is on overcoming barriers to education and employment, closing in on the middle-skills gap, and encouraging a productive workforce with opportunities for career advancement in Iowa.”