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Your Voice, Your Future: Iowa Jobs

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Last week, as Cedar Rapids commemorated the sixth anniversary of the great flood, the city hosted six hundred business leaders from across the state for a three day conference of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.  Many left with a powerful impression says Dee Baird, President and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.  "I heard comments such as, 'I haven't been here in years, you guys have really come back. You are the comeback city."

Baird says she sees that as a great opportunity to attract new investment in our community. Investment that could lead to quality jobs. "I knew that if we could get business leaders here that are doing business not only in the state of Iowa but many of them are doing business nationally and internationally, that they might look at this community," explains Baird. She says Iowa as a whole is positioned for growth and we're already seeing that in our local region. "We are back to pre-recession job growth, and we got there at the end of 2013, boasts Baird. "There are markets in the United States that will not get back there until the year 2020 or 2025."

Still, with Iowa's aging workforce moving into retirement, meeting the demand for skilled workers is a significant challenge. Dave Swenson does community and economic research as an Associate Scientist in Economicsat Iowa State Universty. "What we have is a big, wide area of what we call "middle skills," people that need some science, mathematics training, people that are able to seek and retrieve and process and apply information."  Swenson says Iowa does an incredible job of educating our young people but, "Our economy, as it's structured, can't use all the physicians, can't use all the  accountants, can't use all the engineers. Our economy, just as it's evolved over time, only demands so many of those jobs each year. And so we lose a lot of that talent."

Tuesday night, June 17, CBS 2 will take a closer look at what Iowa can do to develop its workforce and ensure quality jobs for the future. Join us for a live Town Hall, "Your Voice, Your Future: Iowa Jobs. You can take part in accessing our economy live, online and via Facebook. The discussion gets underway at 7:00 P.M.
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