Iowa's Competitive Dashboard
The Iowa's Competitive Dashboard, our annual, nonpartisan review of the state’s economic climate, was released in January of 2019. The dashboard measures Iowa’s progress in five categories relative to other states and serves as a tool to policymakers and business leaders in determining policies that will elevate Iowa's economy. Iowa ranked in the middle of the pack for four of the five indicators – economic growth, education and workforce, governance, and health and wellness – while receiving a poor performance mark in the demographics and diversity category.
Across all of the indicators, two concerns rise to the top: the need for a trained workforce and to increase the state's population. While Iowa's high school graduation rate and ACT scores are some of the highest in nation, the percentage of the population with education and training beyond high school, and of those obtaining a BA, continues to be outpaced by other states. Also, despite Iowa's positive net migration, the state's population is not growing at a rate that supports businesses' needs. These metrics - and others throughout the report - indicate that the state is not keeping up with the talent demands of today nor properly preparing for the workforce needs of the future.
Within this report, we recommend action items for each indicator to help the state improve the report's metrics, address these two challenges, and keep Iowa growing. To build the Iowa's talent pipeline, the IBC supports continuing the implementation of the state's Future Ready Iowa initiative and funding the Last Dollar Scholarship and Employer Innovation Fund. In regards to Iowa's slow population growth, we plan to convene a group of thought leaders from the public and private sectors to conduct research and determine key policy initiatives to accelerate population growth and increase the state's diversity.
We encourage business and community leaders to join us in implementing these recommendations or to develop their own action items based on this data. Click here to view the full report.