Elevating Iowa Manufacturing

February 13, 2023 | Iowa's Multi-Generation Companies are Built to Last Michele Farrell and Kayla Brown, Elevate Advanced Manufacturing,

Some of the world’s most important industrial innovations have been made in Iowa — after all, the manufacturing industry is the number one contributor to the state’s GDP. With state-of-the-art technological advances in robotics, and virtual reality, the manufacturing industry continues to grow, providing new and exciting career opportunities for Iowans. 

Ten years ago, a group of Iowa business leaders sat at a boardroom table discussing the misconception about careers in the manufacturing industry. The younger generation wasn’t aware of the great options available, and their parents believed that manufacturing was “a job for other kids, not my son or daughter.” This insight resulted in creating ABI’s non-profit program, Elevate Iowa. 

Elevate Iowa promotes the exceptional opportunities, compensation, and benefits in Iowa’s advanced manufacturing industry — especially to high school students and their families. Elevate is proud to have awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to high school students attending one of Iowa’s 15 Community Colleges. Recent studies have shown that the salaries of both certificate programs and two-year degree holders, especially in high-demand occupations, can earn salaries that surpass their four-year degree peers. In the age of advanced manufacturing, students can graduate sooner, with less debt. Equipping the next generation of Iowans to graduate with job security and a jumpstart on their career is the first step towards building their future. 

The local (and often family-owned) manufacturing companies are the heart of Elevate Iowa. These employers provide a wide range of in-demand jobs with some of the best employee benefits and innovative training available! Elevate’s “Not a Dirty Job” video series offer an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life, proving that old misconceptions about manufacturing are a thing of the past. Elevate’s social media efforts have led to over 200,000 “Not a Dirty Job” video series views and further strengthened business and community relationships across the state. Because of this reach, Elevate can make a meaningful impact across the state in a cost-effective way. 

Over the years, Elevate Iowa has recognized business leaders who advocate for the manufacturing industry and go above and beyond for their company, employees, and local community. These individuals are formally honored at the Annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards & Manufacturing Conference. Nominations for 2023’s Legends in Manufacturing are currently open. To nominate someone, visit: iowaabi.org/ events/manufacturing-conference. 

Since its inception in 2013, Elevate Iowa has remained true to its mission of improving the perception of the manufacturing industry. We’re proud to be supported by all 15 Iowa Community Colleges, the ABI Foundation, Governor Reynolds, and various State agencies. Elevate is also a national partner of The Manufacturing Institute’s Dream It Do It initiative, inspiring the next generation to pursue manufacturing careers. 

To learn more, visit elevateiowa. com. If you would like to get involved with Elevate Iowa, please email: mfarrell@measuredintentions.com.