The chief executives of 19 of Iowa’s largest businesses are optimistic about the upcoming six months. Max Phillips is chair of the Iowa Business Council, which has released it’s latest survey of CEO’s. Phillips says most of the company leaders expect increases in sales, capital spending, and hiring. One of the ongoing challenges for Iowa’s businesses, however, is finding a skilled workforce.
Phillips says companies are being creative about taking advantage of existing employees and re-defining their jobs so they can be moved into higher skilled jobs. "But at the same time, we’re thinking about how we meet those needs long term," Phillips adds, "so we grow the state in terms of population and workers and continue to grow our economy and businesses." One of the partners in building that skilled workforce is community colleges.
Phillips says those colleges have already played a "big role" in the success, so far, of training and keeping skilled workers in Iowa. According to the Iowa Business Council’s survey, more than 50-percent of the CEO’s expect to add more employees in the next six months and 95-percent anticipate an increase in sales.