In the past few years, we have seen considerable change in the economy in eastern Iowa, the state and the nation. As our region recovers from the recession and shows optimistic trends for growth, the workforce needs of area employers remain a critical component to a vibrant regional economy. In order for the region to be successful in economic development efforts, it is important that information be gained from area employers regarding the quality, capacity and capability of the regional workforce.

This study assists the region in identifying any gaps between the existing workforce needs of industry and the existing skills of the region’s workforce. The Skills 2014 recommendations are based on these gaps and provide information for educational institutions, employers and economic development organizations to continue to prepare and advance the available workforce and incumbent workers for success in the 21st century. It is for this reason the regional Corridor Alliance economic development organizations sponsored the Skills 2014 survey.

This new study provides up-to-date information about employment trends and employee training needs. The study focuses on the area's employment and training needs in the following regional industry sectors:

• advanced manufacturing     • information solutions
• bioprocessing/biotechnology   • logistics/distribution
• consumer products   • packaging/plastics
• education   • printing
• government   • trades
• health care   • other selected industries

The Skills 2014 report builds on the region’s continued efforts to identify and develop strong workforce tools to support business success. In addition, the Skills 2014 report reflects the success of the recommendations outlined in the Skills 2010 report and builds on the 2006 and 2000 Skills reports.

The Skills 2014 report was produced cooperatively by Kirkwood Community College, Priority One, Iowa City Area Development Group and local development organizations. It focuses on the projected workforce demand in the seven-county region Kirkwood serves, through 2014. The Strategic Skills Alignment study was commissioned by ACT, in collaboration with Kirkwood Community College, ICAD and Priority One, to examine skill requirements and training capacity for jobs in demand for the Kirkwood Community College district. The combination of studies is intended to represent future workforce supply and demand, as well as projected skills gaps, in the seven-county area.