Iowa Chamber Alliance looks to address state workforce concerns

The Iowa Chamber Alliance is a statewide organization which focuses on promoting economic growth.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:21 AM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Chamber Alliance, a statewide organization that focuses on promoting economic growth, released its 2023 Talent Poll. The poll asked 826 registered voters in Iowa between the ages of 18-65 what they like about living in the state in order to help find ways to attract new workers.

The 2023 poll shows 69% of Iowans believe the state is on the right track. They credit that to feeling that Iowa is safe, has a low cost of living, and enjoying the small town feeling. The majority of Iowans continue to believe that Iowa is on the right track overall, but that number went down by 11% compared to 2022.

But the poll also shows areas that need improvement. 41% of respondents say they are not satisfied with the entertainment opportunities in the state.

The 2023 poll cited slow population growth as one of the state’s largest issues. Ryan Sempf with the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce says that’s a direct factor in the workforce challenges they’re discussing.

“Younger employees and families that want to move to a place where, you know, they can go out and enjoy trails or kayaking things like that, they see us as lacking some of those resources,” Sempf said. “We’re lucky in Dubuque, we have a lot of access to those trail systems. We even hear, you know, if you talk to an average young person on the street, they’ll say, ‘we want more.’”

Data from the US Census Bureau shows Iowa saw its population grow by 3.8% from 2010 to 2020. That’s nearly half what the entire country saw, at 6.7% growth from 2010 to 2020.

Another critical amenity for Iowans is access to childcare. It’s something 20% of poll responders say they’re seeing less and less of. “I think it is telling that pretty decent plurality of Iowans see access to childcare decreasing,” said Semphf. “And it’s something that we are working on both at the federal level and at the state level, as well as partner partnerships at the local level to address.”