Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg is hinting at a state marketing campaign targeting former Iowans and others considering moving into the state to fill job openings.

“Keep your eyes peeled for some future efforts in this regard in terms of communicating with folks who might be interested in coming to our state,” Gregg said Wednesday in Forest City.

Gregg suggested now is the time to sell Iowa’s cost of living and quality of life with residents of urban areas of the country.

“I think with some of the safety concerns that we see in some our big cities, with the pandemic challenges, with the continued lock downs in some of those big cities, I think there’s a renewed interest in coming to Iowa and coming to rural Iowa where we value freedom,” Gregg said, “and where social distancing is sort of baked into the cake in our rural communities.”

Gregg toured the Winnebago Industries assembly plant in Forest City yesterday. The company has several job openings at the plant — on the production floor and in management and engineering staff.

“They’re talking about hiring over 500 people over the course of the next year. What great opportunities for folks to have a great quality of life in rural Iowa, work for a great company, build a career and support a family, but there’s also challenges as well in having a workforce that’s trained to meet those needs,” Gregg said. “I know that they’re making some significant investments in a career center here, which means great opportunity for students.”

Winnebago sales have increased during the pandemic and the company’s expanding its workforce to meet that demand.

The lieutenant governor made stops yesterday in Whittemore, Estherville and Milford as well as Forest City, part of his 99 county tour of the state.

(Reporting by A. J. Taylor, KIOW, Forest City)