Northwest Iowa city receives recognition for workforce initiativ - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Northwest Iowa city receives recognition for workforce initiative

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ONAWA, Iowa (KTIV) -

With the help of about about a dozen businesses and employees, the city of Onawa, Iowa, was honored by Iowa Workforce Development as the first in the state to achieve the "Skilled Iowa Community Status."

"It's an initiative to help match people with jobs, especially in the middle skill area," Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert said.

The initiative, which was started by Governor Branstad, works to develop a workforce in cities and counties by encouraging workers to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate.

"We're trying to get people to be certified in are applied mathematics, searching for information, and reading for information," Wahlert said.

Farm Bureau Financial Services Insurance Agent Brent McCall took the test to see what it was all about.

"They make you think. They're very good because they give you a broad range of the types of employees that are available," McCall said.

McCall thinks the initiative is going to be major benefit for the community.

"Onawa's a town this is ideally located right off the interstate, right across from one of the main entrances in to Nebraska, in between Sioux City and Omaha. So, we've had the location always, but now it shows that we do have the workforce behind us," McCall said.

McCall said when he looks to hire someone, he'll think twice about their credentials and if they hold a National Career Readiness Certificate.

"If somebody did come in and had the certifications, knowing that I've taken the test myself, it shows that they've taken above and beyond the initiative of somebody else to try and better themselves, which would definitely weigh in my decision of hiring somebody," McCall said.

Skilled Iowa aims to have 10-percent of businesses in certified communities support the program by hiring workers who are certified. Some businesses in the city taking part in the initiative include Schenkelberg Implement, Stangel Pharmacy, and Burgess Health Center.

Monona County also received an award for being the sixth county in the state of Iowa to be recognized for their skilled workforce.

"We think it's a great starting place because it demonstrates that we have assessed our workforce, but it also can lead to other things that we're hoping will happen and that is bringing more job specific education, training, and resources in to our community," Monona County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Teresa Miller said.

Miller added how this will allow the economic development authority to recommend the county to businesses interested in setting up shop in Western Iowa.

To find out more facts and information about "Skilled Iowa," check out this website

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