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Future Ready Iowa Alliance Releases Metrics That Matter Report

Iowa Workforce Development
For Immediate Release
Date: July 18, 2017
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646

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Iowa needs an additional 127,700 residents to earn a two- or four-year college degree or other postsecondary credential to reach the goal of 70 percent of the workforce having education or training beyond high school by the year 2025, according to the new Metrics that Matter report released by the Future Ready Iowa Alliance.

The report will help shape the recommendations the Alliance is developing for how to achieve the 70 percent goal, so more Iowans have rewarding careers and employers can hire the skilled workers they need. Currently, 58 percent of Iowa’s workforce between ages 25 and 64 have a postsecondary degree or credential. The Future Ready Iowa Alliance recommendations on how to close Iowa’s skills gap are due Oct. 31, 2017.

“The information in this report provides 19 metrics to guide the direction we need to take as a state to close Iowa’s skills gap and achieve our goal of 70 percent of Iowans with postsecondary education or training in eight years,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds, who co-chairs the Future Ready Iowa Alliance along with Dan Houston, Chairman, President and CEO of Principal Financial Group. “Iowans are creative, resourceful and resilient and I am confident we will implement the necessary steps to help us meet the goal and strengthen Iowa’s economy.”  

Adults age 25 and older with no postsecondary degree or credential represent the largest target population for upskilling, with an estimated 325,992 Iowans falling into that category in 2016, the report found. Another 223,952 adults age 25 and older have some college, but no degree. For Iowa to reach its 70 percent goal by 2025, more than 127,000 residents in these and other groups will need to attain a postsecondary degree or credential.

“With the majority of Iowa's top jobs requiring a skilled workforce, the value of education beyond high school has never been greater,” said Ryan Wise, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “Our efforts to ensure students leave our K-12 schools with the education and skills needed to succeed are having an impact, but we still have work to do. Helping more Iowans earn postsecondary degrees and credentials is key to ensuring the state has a workforce ready to fill the high-quality, well-paying jobs and careers of today and tomorrow.” 

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said Iowa is already implementing initiatives to help Iowa close its skills gap such as Registered Apprenticeship and Home Base Iowa.

“From October 2016 through June of 2017, we have 72 new Registered Apprenticeship Programs,” said Director Townsend. “This earn while you learn model is an ideal solution for people currently in the workforce who need to continue to earn a paycheck while gaining additional skills. Through Home Base Iowa, transitioning service members and veterans and their immediate family who move to Iowa and require additional education can receive in-state tuition and other resources from Certified Higher Academic Military Partners.”

The Metrics that Matter report was prepared by Iowa Office of the Governor, Iowa Board of Regents, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Workforce Development, with support from the Lumina Foundation. 

For additional information on the Future Ready Iowa initiative or the Future Ready Iowa Alliance, visit