Leading Organizations Invest in Elevate Iowa

Funding commitments support career positions in advanced manufacturing

DES MOINES, Iowa – May 12, 2015 Elevate Iowa is pleased to announce that a significant number of companies recently made funding commitments to support the statewide program that is now in its third year. The funds will be used to further Elevate Iowa’s goal to build awareness of the vital role manufacturing plays in Iowa’s economy and the ongoing need for the development of skilled workers to fill career positions.

In addition to the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and Iowa’s 15 community colleges, the following organizations are the founding members and first contributors to Elevate Iowa: Agri-Industrial Plastics Company; Fisher Controls International; United Equipment Accessories, Inc.; Hillphoenix; and Manpower Central Iowa.

With increasing momentum about the need for skilled labor in manufacturing positions, the following additional companies have made or continue to make significant contributions to support Elevate Iowa’s outreach efforts: Accumold; Agri-Industrial Plastics Company; Alcoa; Barker Specialty Products; Caterpillar; Danfoss Power Solutions; Dexter Apache Holdings, Inc.; Fisher Controls International; Geater Machining & Manufacturing, Co.; Hillphoenix; Iowa Area Development Group; Kreg Tool Company; Lennox; Meredith Corporation; QPS Employment Group; Seneca Foundry, Inc.; Stellar Industries, Inc.; and Wilson Trailer Company. In addition to these companies, several individuals have personally contributed.

“We commend these organizations and individuals for recognizing the critical role advanced manufacturing plays in Iowa’s economy,” says Mike Ralston, president of ABI. “Currently, manufacturing firms supply more than 208,000 well-paying careers for Iowans; however, by 2018, there will be a shortage of more than 6,660 skilled workers in the state. This initiative is designed to close that gap.”

Since 2012, Elevate Iowa has been working to improve the perception of advanced manufacturing in Iowa. Without proactive and ongoing public education about manufacturing careers, studies show people have an outdated image of the industry.  These misperceptions have led to a decline in individuals pursuing a career path in manufacturing. Today, Iowa’s manufacturing facilities are developing cutting edge products using highly advanced equipment. In addition, the attractive pay and benefits packages that are tied to most of these positions make it a lucrative career for many individuals.

In the past year, some of the key activities of the Elevate Iowa program include:

  • Developing a K-12 curriculum focused on available career opportunities in advanced manufacturing. The curriculum, initially distributed to more than 70,000 students, is now available online and is being expanded into an even more robust resource on the Iowa Area Education Agencies’ new online service.
  • Hosting of a grant program to provide 14, $500 grants to Iowa libraries and museums to implement programs supportive of advanced manufacturing.
  • Awarding $500 scholarships to Iowa high school students.
  • Participating in nearly 100 events across the state of Iowa, including bringing Mike Rowe, a national celebrity, to ABI’s annual convention to promote two-year educational programs and advanced manufacturing. While in Iowa, Rowe met with educators, business leaders, and community leaders to stress the importance of this industry.

“We are grateful for the investments that Iowa companies and individuals are making in Iowa’s advanced manufacturing industry,” Ralston adds. “With their support, we’ll be able to further Elevate Iowa’s goals to encourage individuals to pursue a career in manufacturing and to develop the skills necessary to succeed and thrive in this important industry.”

Elevate Iowa (www.elevateiowa.com) is a statewide, integrated marketing campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing. The initiative is directed by a coalition of all 15 Iowa Community Colleges represented by the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Consortium, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the private manufacturing sector and the State of Iowa.
The initiative is funded in part by the I-AM Consortium, which is 100% financed through a grant from the Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. Elevate Iowa offers resources to the public specifically targeting those eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers, unemployed/underemployed Iowans, U.S. veterans, along with K-12 students and their families.


For more information, contact:

Michele Farrell (515) 419-8357