First Laborshed Studies Under New Program Released

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: January 9, 2019
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646

Workforce Data Featured for Cresco, Decorah, Dubuque, Elkader, Oelwein, Manchester, Maquoketa, Waukon

DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) has released its first round of Laborshed Studies for the communities of Cresco, Decorah, Dubuque, Elkader, Oelwein, Manchester, Maquoketa and Waukon.

These cities are in the counties of Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Winneshiek, Howard and Delaware that comprise the Northeast Iowa Business Network, and in the counties of Dubuque and Jackson that are part of Prosperity Eastern Iowa. IWD, in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), announced in May that a Laborshed Study would be conducted for one community in every county in Iowa at no cost to local development organizations and their partners.

“No other state in the nation is providing this type of comprehensive data to help our economic development partners, our current employers and companies looking to expand in Iowa make data-driven decisions,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said. “I have always said for our state to grow, it can’t just be in pockets and this new information will begin to serve communities all across our great state. I believe this valuable insight will help grow our state’s economy and create new opportunities for Iowans.”

A Laborshed Study is a supply-side labor availability study that documents labor sources traveling to a particular employment center for work. It is based upon current commuting patterns with no restrictions by county or state lines. The study reports workforce characteristics including: employment status; likeliness to change or accept employment; occupation and industry; job search resources used; current and desired wages and benefits; age; education; and distance willing to travel for work, among others.

The study results are available online in a highly visual and understandable format using data visualization software from Tableau and ArcGIS. An executive summary in PDF format is also available for each community.

"We are excited to provide this comprehensive labor data presented in a visually appealing way that breaks down the rich data in easy-to-understand nuggets of information,” IWD Director Beth Townsend said. “This data provides critical insights on the available workforce in communities and will help them and businesses develop and implement solutions to meet their workforce needs. This will also help the state have the most future ready workforce in the nation.”

Future Ready Iowa is the state’s initiative to help close the skills gap and ensure 70 percent of the workforce has post-secondary education, training or a credential of value by 2025. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2025, 68 percent of jobs in Iowa will require education and training beyond high school. Currently, 58.4 percent of Iowa’s workforce meets this qualification.

“No two laborsheds are the same, and you really cannot make workforce decisions based on the standardized data available at the town or county level,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “I have seen first-hand how having this detailed level of information can make a difference for existing companies trying to improve worker retention rates as well as for companies trying to decide whether to expand in, or locate to, Iowa. This really is a game changer for Iowa.”

IWD is currently conducting Laborshed Studies for the northern half of Iowa. Studies will be released next Clinton, Davenport (Quad Cities) and Muscatine followed by Amana, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Monticello, Tipton, Vinton and Washington.

The goal is to complete studies in the northern half of the state by June 30, 2019, and start those in the southern half in July of 2019. Under the new program, each community across the state will have a recent current laborshed study to reference by June of 2020.