Trending Up: Employers Investing More in Employee Development

Mar 16, 2020

Employee Training and Upskilling

The Economic Alliance analyzes data received from the business community through surveys conducted during in-person meetings each year to measure the climate of our business community and to monitor and report on business trends. One trend we’re seeing is businesses moving toward hiring employees who may not have two or four year degrees or certifications and investing and upskilling them with on-the-job and/or classroom training. In 2019, 57.3% of respondents in the Cedar Rapids metro indicated that they are increasing company investment in employee training, a 15 percentage point increase when compared to 2018 data from the Cedar Rapids metro. At the state level, in 2019 45.5% of respondents indicated that they are increasing company investment in employee training.

With Iowa’s current low unemployment rate and the likelihood that low employment will continue for years to come, this data could show that employers are creating a structure of upskilling employees to make the most of the available workforce and retain current talent.

There are many local, state and federal programs available to supplement employers’ efforts in training and upskilling employees. One of those programs is the Iowa Jobs Training Programs 260E and 260F, which are state programs administered and managed by Kirkwood Community College. These programs can assist qualified Iowa businesses by helping off-set training costs for new or existing employees.

Gary Ficken, President of Bimm Ridder Sportswear, says the businesses’ recent use of the Iowa Jobs Training Program proved extremely beneficial to his workplace culture and came with very little overhead or extra administrative work.

“With the Iowa Job Training program, we were able to provide a training day for all of our production employees to give context and explain every step in getting orders to customers. Being able to show how each step connects to the goal of making happy customers, and the importance that each employee’s work brings to the process as a whole, was really impactful. We’ve seen an increase in productivity with an enhanced sense of pride in employees’ work. I would highly recommend Iowa Jobs Training Programs as they provide opportunities for our employees, with reimbursement to the company. For us, it’s a no-brainer.”

If your business is interested in learning more about Iowa Jobs Training Programs or other assistance programs for training or upskilling employees, please reach out to Mike Lukan, Local Business Project Specialist, at or 319-730-1403.

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