The Iowa Department of Economic Development is targeting three areas in an effort to improve. Director Mary Lawyer says they’re focusing on bioscience industry, information technology and advanced manufacturing. Lawyer says a new study suggests they target specialized applications such as the finance and insurance industries. They’ve had issues, she says, with access to capital for information technology, and that’s been a barrier to the startup of businesses. To attract and keep businesses, she says there has to be a strong base of I-T skill. Advanced manufacturing was identified as a key component to Iowa’s rural economy. She says there’s a strong manufacturing base in the state, which actually outperforms the rest of the U.S. average, but they’ve found our manufacturers often “don’t feel appreciated.” She says the field needs a higher profile. The department has created two steering committees to work on the issues.
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