Three Iowa cities were selected today for a new pilot project which aims to help increase the state’s population to meet the growing demand for workers. Governor Vilsack says the project called “New Iowans” will focus initially on Mason City, Marshalltown and Fort Dodge. The Governor says it won’t be an easy process and this is one of several initiatives.Vilsack says the growth trends show the state will need 198-thousand new workers in the next ten years, but the state will only be able to fill 114-thousand of those jobs. Vilsack says one of the ways to grow Iowa’s population is to welcome immigrants.He says the state needs to learn how to welcome the immigrants while meeting the concerns of the communities where they settle. Vilsack says many Iowans fear the new immigrants will take up resources needed for those who already live here.Vilsack says history shows the immigrants won’t hurt the state’s economy, but will become significant contributors. Vilsack says the three communities will work with the state to develop a comprehensive plan for welcoming people to Iowa that will become a state model. Marshalltown Mayor Floyd Hartune says his community has to do something to keep the industries it already has. He says two of their major employers have a workforce in which over 50-percent of the employees are over 55.Hartune says they’ve already seen a significant increase in immigrants and they didn’t know how to deal with them at first.Governor Vilsack says each community will get 50-thousand dollars from the state to help get the project rolling.
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