A survey of Iowa college students released today by the Iowa Biotechnology Association shows many of the students are preparing themselves for high-tech jobs and hope to stay here to get one. Association executive Doug Getter says the survey by his association included some 700 college students.
“Nearly 28% of our student respondents were looking at advanced science degrees, which speaks volumes for the quality of students that we have in Iowa,” Getter says. He says the life sciences industry has a rapidly changing career path with new technologies springing up nearly every day from the research lab to production and processing. Getter talked about the survey at one of the leading biso-science businesses in the state – Kemin Industries in Des Moines.
Getter says not only are students preparing themselves for the industry — but they also want to put their skills to use here. He says nearly 47% of them responded they would like to seek a job in Iowa. Getter says that is important as the industry looks to the future growth as “employment opportunities are clearly going to be present” and it is a “strong positive” to have nearly 50% of students who want to stay here and fill the jobs.
Getter says 33% of those in the poll said they would look for the best possible job, regardless of where the job is located. The survey showed many of the students believe they might find a job in the state once they graduate. “We asked them to rate career opportunities in Iowa for their chosen career paths, this was somewhat a delicate question obviously, because you never know what kind of responses you are going to get back,” Getter says, “but, nearly 69% viewed Iowa career opportunities somewhat or very favorable.”
Getter says with the students interested in staying here and believing they can find a job, it is up to the industry to keep letting them know what is available. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, joined Getter and said the evidence is there to sell graduates on staying in Iowa.
“Life sciences and health care are the only two industries over the last couple of years that have actually added jobs through this recession, every other industry has had and overall net loss,” Koonce says,”so that’s important for everyone to know as people are looking at their career fields and where they want to move into.” Koonce says its’ important that graduates “see the critical mass of opportunities in the state.”
Getter says the state has done a lot to increase the number of high-tech jobs in the state, but there is more to be done. He says it’s up to the industry to continue letting college students know about the opportunities available in the state.