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Local

Black, Gronstal to discuss efforts to address skilled worker shortage Thursday

Iowa faces a growing problem as it tries to attract new employers and battle an unemployment rate of more than 5 percent: the state has a shortage of skilled workers.

That will be the focus of a meeting set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Newton Development Corporation office. At the meeting, state senators Dennis Black and Dan Kelley of Newton along with Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, the senate majority leader, will meet with community college officials and local business owners to discuss how the state can help fill skilled worker shortages.

“Ensuring that more workers get the training they need must be part of helping Iowans recover from the national recession,” Black said. “The current skill shortage is a serious drag on our economy. By 2018, 62 percent of all jobs in Iowa — 1.1 million jobs — will require some training or education beyond high school. Yet nearly 10 percent of Iowa’s working-age adults do not have a high school diploma.”

In 2012, Black and Gronstal led a successful effort to approve the largest single-year increase in state general aid to community colleges. The legislation included support for new opportunities to earn non-credit skill certificates and the creation of the new Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant.

Those who wish to attend the event must RSVP at (641) 787-8210 or at frankliebl.ndc@gmail.com via email. Participants must park on the east side of the DMACC-Newton Campus Building 1 and enter the building through the north set of doors. The NDC offices are located on the second floor in Room 264.

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