A new report says Iowa needs better paying jobs to keep young and educated people from leaving the state. According to census data, Iowa has lost more college educated people than 46 other states since 2000. The report from the Generation Iowa Commission , a group of young Iowans put together by lawmakers, offers suggestions for reversing that brain drain.
Generation Iowa member Isaiah McGee says lawmakers should start by mandating that more young professionals have voting seats on state commissions dealing with economic development and quality-of-life issues. "Right now, with a lot of these boards and commissions, they already have requirements for racial diversity and they try to balance them out by geography, gender and political party affiliation," McGee said.
He suggests there should also be a requirement for members that are 35-years-old or younger. Other recommendations to the State Legislature include making job creation programs more ambitious in terms of salaries and expanding the Iowa Internship Program that links top college students with businesses. The 29-year-old McGee says the 15-member Generation Iowa commission would also like to see an expansion of the Iowa Americorps volunteers program.
"We think that will help as an incentive for some college students in Iowa…who have high debt loads," McGee said. "Here’s an incentive that will probably help keep them here in the state." Labor statistics show wages in Iowa are 20-percent lower than the national average and are only ahead of South Dakota in the 10-state region. McGee is a California native who attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon. He now lives in Waukee and owns and operates McGee Strategies, a professional development firm.