Although 80 percent of the Iowa Business Council’s members anticipate higher sales in the next six months, two-thirds are concerned about attracting and retaining quality workers, according to results of the council’s quarterly Economic Outlook survey released today. 

In response to this workforce challenge, the IBC has launched a Business Education Alliance, which brings all of the stakeholders -- business, secondary education and K-12 -- to the same table to create and implement strategies that better align business and education to meet current and future workforce needs. The 17-member alliance is chaired by Mary Andringa, the board chair of Vermeer Corp.

“Our members recognize the importance of working with all stakeholders to tackle current workforce challenges, while also preparing for the workforce needs of the future,” said Georgia Van Gundy, executive director of the Iowa Business Council. “Maintaining a growing and resilient state economy will require the creation and implementation of long-term education and workforce strategies that cultivate a diverse, highly skilled population.” 

According to the latest quarterly survey results -- representing 23 chief executives from Iowa’s largest employers -- half of the IBC members plan to increase capital spending. Employment rates appear steady, as 45 percent of IBC members expect to hire more people in the next six months. Overall, the economy remains strong, with a slight increase in the index number from last quarter (up from 63 to 64.5).

The Economic Outlook Survey has been conducted on a quarterly basis since 2006. To view detailed data from the first-quarter survey, click here.