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Future Ready Iowa Regional Summit Announced for Ottumwa
Iowa Ag Connection - 10/08/2018

Ottumwa will host a Future Ready Iowa Regional Summit on Oct. 30. This is the 18th regional summit to be announced for this fall. The summits will focus on increasing opportunities for collaboration to address Iowa's shortage of skilled workers.

"One of the biggest barriers to economic growth right now is the lack of a skilled workforce," Gov. Kim Reynolds said. "Future Ready Iowa connects Iowans to the great jobs and opportunities that exist in our state through education and training. I'm optimistic Iowans will step up to the challenge and get the training and education needed for these high-demand jobs."

Additional day-long summits are set to be held in the Iowa communities of Ames, Atlantic, Burlington, Centerville, Creston, Davenport, Denison, Des Moines, Elkader, Fort Dodge, Iowa City-Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Pella, Sheffield, Sioux City and Spencer and in the Cedar Valley region.

The events will bring together key stakeholders in business, education, economic development and community organizations to create local strategies to ensure Iowa's workforce is future ready. The Future Ready Iowa initiative has the goal of 70 percent of Iowa's workforce having education or training beyond high school by 2025.

So far, more than 1,800 Iowans are registered for a summit. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said the interest reflects Iowans' willingness to get involved and develop solutions.

"Summits in several locations are at capacity and others are filling up quickly," Director Townsend said, explaining the need for hosting additional summits. "If you want to be involved in developing Future Ready Iowa strategies in your community, we want you to be able to attend a summit near you."

The Iowa legislature passed the Future Ready Iowa Act earlier this year with unanimous, bipartisan support. The Act outlines workforce, business and education collaborative strategies for the state to encourage more Iowans to obtain education and training beyond high school. The 18 summits scheduled will provide a platform to convene local leaders around these strategies, creating localized solutions that address the needs of their region.

According to Future Ready Iowa Policy Adviser Kathy Leggett, many communities are signing up in groups, which will help them work together to facilitate solutions. The summits are designed to be highly interactive and encourage cross-sector collaboration within regions.

"We want communities to bring their teams," Leggett said. "Everyone who attends a summit will get a chance to make new connections in their area and get inspired to think creatively about workforce solutions."

Learn more at FutureReadyIowa.gov and register to attend a summit at FutureReadyIowa.gov/Summits.

For more information about planning a summit in your area, contact Kathy Leggett at kathy.leggett@iwd.iowa.gov.

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