Iowa Experiencing Shortage of Middle Skilled Workers


For Immediate Release: May 23, 2012
Contact: Kerry Koonce
Telephone: (515) 281-9646

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Iowa Experiencing Shortage of Middle Skilled Workers
Emphasis on Technical Training Needed

DES MOINES – Iowa Workforce Development released the “Middle Skill Jobs in Iowa” report today detailing the mismatch of job opportunities and worker skill sets in Iowa.

Fifty percent of the jobs in Iowa are classified as middle skill, opportunities requiring more than a high school degree, up to two-year associates. However, the current labor supply indicated that only 33 percent of the current workforce is qualified for the middle skill opportunities. Only 18 percent of the employment opportunities in Iowa are for low-skilled workers, however 38 percent of the current workforce would be considered low-skilled.

“In order to bridge the gap existing within Iowa’s current labor supply, it’s critical that the state embraces and promotes technical training opportunities,” stated Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert. “In addition to our traditional training modes, certifications such as the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and the National Association of Manufacturers Certification (NAM) are essential for Iowa’s success now and in the future.”

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative for Iowa also requires the state to embrace training opportunities that encourages Iowa to enter career paths within the middle-skill arena. While the majority of career paths in STEM require a four year degree or more, over one-third of the careers require a two year degree or less. The middle skill opportunities in STEM field currently represent fifty-four percent of the employment in the field.

Iowa’s ability to overcome a skills gap requires multiple partners with innovative ideas for developing the skills sets needed in Iowa’s current and future workforce.

The Middle Skill Report is available at