Iowa Workforce Development

Kate Payne / IPR

Across the country, construction firms say they’re having a hard time finding skilled workers. In eastern Iowa, a coalition of companies and educators is trying to grow the next generation of builders by teaching them early.

Braceros in the U.S.

May 23, 2018
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode (cropping and contrast changes made)
Oregon State University Archives

Between 1942 and 1966, the Bracero Program brought 4.6 million Mexican migrant workers to the United States including to jobs in Iowa. They were working largely in agricultural jobs.

Brian Behnken is an associate professor of history and the U.S. Latino studies program at Iowa State University. He explains the history of the program, how it was implemented, and what was required of workers and employers.

The program began during World War Two.

TechShop / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons

Iowa's unemployment rate of 3.8% reflects nearly full employment across the state. But there are many industries that need workers, and that demand is reflected in the Iowa Hot Jobs report. Deputy Director of Iowa Workforce Development and the State Labor Market Information Administrator, Ed Wallace says jobs in the biosciences, health care, education, and agriculture continue to grow. The challenge lies in making sure those looking for work know which jobs are in most demand.

The head of  Iowa Workforce Development Teresa Wahlert  took questions for nearly two hours from the Iowa Senate Oversight Committee.   One senator calls the agency dysfunctional, but Wahlert defends her leadership style.  

The Iowa Senate Oversight Committee questioned current and former judges  who rule on unemployment benefits for laid-off state workers.    Senators are  looking into allegations that management at Iowa Workforce Development favors  employers over employees in contested cases.   

Iowa is facing a shortage of middle-skill workers. Those are people to fill jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree. Host Ben Kieffer talks about Iowa workforce development efforts to fill the gap. And hear from employers and educators about their needs.