Back to School: ABI Public Policy Edition

August 11, 2017 | Rethinking shop and trade classes Nicole Crain, Senior Vice President, Public Policy,

As children in Iowa get ready to head back to school, ABI members are also hard at work educating each other on recommendations for the association’s legislative priorities in 2018. One priority that will take more than ABI to address is that of workforce. ABI has been very active the last several years and has led with workforce as the association’s No. 1 priority. We expect workforce to top the list again this year. As we look at workforce, two critical components of a qualified workforce are education and training.

The Iowa Legislature has taken steps by increasing state general fund dollars that support K-12 education along with passing legislation that supports post-secondary training programs. The Legislature has also passed laws encouraging career and technical education (CTE) offerings in schools and making it easier for individuals with real world experience to teach CTE classes. Those initiatives have all been steps in the right direction. However, money alone is not the solution to Iowa’s workforce challenges. We must have collaboration across all industry sectors. The Future Ready Iowa Alliance, which is co-chaired by Gov. Kim Reynolds, is a great step in getting all parties to the table and having a conversation about what needs to happen.

As the Future Ready Iowa taskforce puts together their legislative initiatives, ABI will be ready to play an integral role in ensuring the legislative initiatives move forward. We look forward to having Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend at the ABI Employment and Workforce Committee on Aug. 22. If you are an ABI member we hope you join us to hear about what Iowa Workforce Development is doing to address the skills gap and workforce needs we have. We hope you can attend and provide your expertise and ideas for advancing Iowa’s workforce.