Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds have a plan for their weekly press conferences throughout the summer, hoping to visit each of the state's 99 counties. Today, they stopped in Storm Lake to highlight a new program called the "Skilled Iowa Initiative."
Gov. Branstad has a goal: to bring 200,000 new jobs to Iowa. But jobs don't just appear out of nowhere.
"That's why on Monday this week, we introduced a new Skilled Iowa Initiative, as part of our effort to assist Iowans to get the new jobs and skills of the future," Governor Branstad said.
The program will allow employers to determine baseline skills for potential employees. It uses a universal testing system that rates the skills and abilities of potential workers. Once completed they receive a National Career Readiness Certificate.
Another part of the initiative is to offer an eight week internship program. This gives the employer the opportunity to get to know the possible candidate, and the possible candidate the opportunity to gain on the job training.
"The internship program is going to be very innovative. We're going to have the ability to have a person who may be on unemployment, go to an employer for an eight week period, be paid by the State of Iowa and have an opportunity to have a job at the end of that internship time," said Ed Wallace, Corporate Director for the Skilled Iowa Initiative.
Governor Branstad says it creates a simple solution to keep the state's unemployment rate low.
"Regardless of political party, we can work together to grow the Iowa workforce to make sure Iowa workers have the skills for the jobs that are being created here in Storm Lake and across the state," he said.
That's why Gov. Branstad is working with a businessman in Des Moines to raise money and get this program off the ground.
If your business is interested in getting involved with the Skilled Iowa initiative, you can visit www.skillediowa.org.