Celebrate Library Lovers Day: Recognizing Public Libraries’ Economic Impact

Did you know public libraries contribute to economic development and strengthen their community’s quality of life? There are 544 libraries in Iowa that serve a municipal population of 2,340,220.

In honor of Library Lovers Day, we wanted to highlight the benefits public libraries offer to their communities. Beyond providing books, public libraries create a sense of community, as well as provide access to technology, and are an important and dynamic part of the community’s learning infrastructure.

With the accessibility to public computers, Internet, and media products in public libraries, people can more easily run a small business, do research online, or search for and apply to jobs.

Public libraries across the state offer resources to better the community and in turn, often make an economic impact. Small business resources and training and technology programs at the library are lowering the barriers to learning. Researchers found that when libraries work with local and state agencies to provide business development workshops and research, market entry costs to prospective and existing small businesses are reduced and new jobs are created. 

Locally, the Burlington Public Library offers a variety of resources to benefit the community. For example, the library offers free resources and services, including a job center and research tools for job seekers, employers, and small business owners. With one-on-one assistance, the library is able to provide individuals with the technology and skills needed to compete in today’s job market.

Many public libraries also benefit from partnering with local businesses. In the fall of 2012, local musician William Elliot Whitmore and the Donnellson Public Library teamed up on a match-donation program. The donations from the event went to the library to fund renovations to the building. In coordination with this program, Iowa Fertilizer made a match donation for the ticket sales. This event was a huge success for the community, with more that $380,000 raised for the project to date.

Southeast Iowa is lucky to have multiple public libraries in the area working to better the community by providing resources to enhance the economy and job growth in the area. Click here to find a public library in your area.

Until Next Time!

The Restoring Iowa Jobs Team

 

Southeast Iowa – A great region to live, work, and raise a family

Southeast Iowa is on the rise with large companies like Siemens and Iowa Fertilizer investing in the regional economy. To accompany the many great job opportunities as a result of these companies, Southeast Iowa also offers its residents much more, making the region a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Source: http://goo.gl/HCNiKa

Source: http://goo.gl/HCNiKa

Housing
Living in Southeast Iowa is made easy with a variety of housing options at affordable prices. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 73 percent of Lee County  residents are homeowners and according to the Lee County Economic Development Group, a majority of homes within the area cost anywhere between $50,000-$100,000.

In Burlington, a city of almost 40,000 in Des Moines County, the median home value is $92,901 and average rent stands around $400 a month. The Greater Burlington Partnership offers great resources for current or potential residents, including SoutheastIowaHousing.com and a community reference guide.

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
The communities within Southeast Iowa offer numerous events year round for children, adults, and families to get out and have some fun! Whether it is visiting the Keokuk or Fort Madison art centers or shopping in Downtown Burlington and catching a movie at the 5&V Outdoor Cinema, there are a wide variety of options for fun within Southeast Iowa. Here are a few other attractions worth checking out throughout the year.

Education
According to the Lee County Economic Development Group, the schools within the county boast a student to teacher ratio of 14 to 1 and a five percent higher graduation rate than the national average. Residents in and surrounding Southeast Iowa also have access to numerous higher education opportunities, including Southeastern Iowa Community College  and Iowa State University’s Extension Office in Donnellson, which provides research-based learning.

These are just a few of the many things that make the Southeast Iowa region stand out as a top place within the state, no matter your stage of life. We encourage you to take in all that the region has to offer and explore even further by checking out some great resources including the websites of the Lee County Economic Development Group and the Greater Burlington Partnership.

Until next time,

The Restoring Iowa Jobs team

America’s Small Business Development Centers – Iowa

By: Lisa Shimkat, State Director of America’s Small Business Development Center – Iowa

Lisa Shimkat, State Director of America's Small Business Development Center - Iowa

Lisa Shimkat, State Director of America’s Small Business Development Center – Iowa

Do you want to start a business, but do not know where to start?

Do you already have a business that you started a year ago and need help finding more customers so the business can grow?

Do you have an established business and are wondering what you will need to do to pass it on or sell it successfully to someone else?

These questions and many, many others are answered daily by the experienced advisers of America’s SBDC Iowa.

We provide no-fee, confidential, customized business counseling in all 99 Iowa counties to businesses that have up to 500 employees. That’s about 97% of the businesses in Iowa.

SBDC Photo 2

Our services are offered by our 15 regional business assistance centers, which are located strategically across Iowa. We can help with a variety of subjects, including:

  • Business planning
  • Financing opportunities
  • Market research
  • Loan applications
  • Exporting
  • Cash flow projections
  • Marketing planning and strategy
  • Growth and succession strategies
  • Business continuity planning

These are just some our services; there are many others.

SBDC Photo 1

We also conduct affordable workshops that teach practical skills and techniques, such as:

  • How to use QuickBooks
  • Recruiting, Retaining & Motivating Employees
  • How to Effectively Price your Product or Service

In addition to all of this, SBDC centers develop and maintain partnerships among Iowa business and community organizations as well as local, state and federal agencies. We are a focal point for public and private resources at the community level and encourage local business efforts, such as revolving loan funds. This is done to meet small business needs and grow and retain local businesses.

SBDC Photo 3

In our Southeastern SBDC, which is located in Burlington and covers Lee, Des Moines, Louisa and Henry counties, Janine Clover has been helping entrepreneurs and business owners for over 14 years. You will find Janine’s contact information and more at Southeastern SBDC.

To be able to offer our counseling services free, America’s SBDC Iowa is funded by the U. S. Small Business Administration and the State of Iowa. We also receive funding and assistance from most of Iowa’s community colleges and Iowa’s three public universities.

Call 515-294-2030 or visit www.iowasbdc.org to find the Small Business Development Center in your region for helpful advice or more information about our services. We have the knowledge and experience to help you and help you find the solutions you are needing.

Fall in Southeast Iowa

Fall in SE Iowa Photo

As the leaves begin to change and the weather cools, Southeast Iowa doesn’t begin to hibernate, but instead comes alive with numerous events and festivals perfect to keep kids, adults, and families busy throughout the fall and winter months. We’ve highlighted a few that you may want to mark on your calendars!

Another fall activity that’s a must is visiting an apple orchard and Southeast Iowa has one that is filled with more than just apples! Appleberry Orchard is located in Donnellson, Iowa and is owned and operated by Ryan and Jessica Welch. The two farm 22 acres of apple orchards, a petting farm, and a farm market filled with fresh fruits, jams, jellies, and bakery items. The orchard has something for everyone from the kids play area to Date Night at the Orchard, taking place on October 24.

Appleberry is considered the oldest working orchard in the state of Iowa, as the first apple tree was planted on the property in 1852! You can learn more about the orchard by visiting their website here.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events! 

October 23 and 24
Main Street Ghost Hunt in Fort Madison
7:00pm
Pre-Registration Required, $25.00 per person

October 30
Downtown Burlington Trick or Treat
4:00pm – 6:00pm

October 31
Begger’s Night in Fort Madison
5:00pm – 8:00pm

November 8
Holiday Open House
12:00pm – 4:00pm
Downtown Burlington

November 26
4th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trott 5K Run/Walk
8:45am – 11:00am
Burlington Golf Club
Register before November 6, 2015

November 28
Lighted Holiday Parade
5:00pm – 8:00pm
Downtown Burlington

December 10
Living Windows
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Downtown Burlington

 

Iowa Celebrates Manufacturing Day

National manufacturing day, also known as MFG Day, is a day that aims to address common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors and showcase what manufacturing is – and what it isn’t. Manufacturing is just another element of technology that is moving our state forward. Iowa factories have added 6,900 jobs since 2010, an increase of 3.4 percent. Technological advancements and changes to the industry have transformed the way in which manufacturing work is performed and have created a demand for more middle-skilled workers. Although the official National Manufacturing Day was October 2, businesses and communities in Iowa are celebrating throughout the entire month of October.

Below are a few of manufacturing events worth checking out:

October 15, 2015 12:00pm – 1:00pm ISU Extension and Outreach will host a lunch and learn in Keosauqua, which will include a presentation of manufacturing technologies with a focus on additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology.

October 17, 2015 9:30am – 10:30am Will host a meeting with The Fairfield Economic Development Association and local companies to discuss tech-based innovation (with a focus on mfg) and how the ISU-CIRAS programs can assist organizations throughout the process.

October 28, 2015 5:00pm – 7:00pm Lee County Economic Development Group will be celebrating manufacturing in Fort Madison at the Annual Salute to Industry Summit. Don’t miss Manufacturing 101, a basic course that will help you develop the skills necessary to start a career in manufacturing. Enjoy appetizers and drinks while networking with professionals from key industries and elected officials from Lee County and Southeast Iowa.

 October 28, 2015 – October 29, 2015 Siemans will participate in Lee County Economic Development Group’s Salute to Industry Summit 2015. The facility will also host students enrolled in Wind Technician and Wind Blade Repair programs from Cloud Community College in Concordia, KS.

Many groups, including Center for Industrial Research and Service and Elevate Iowaare working to promote manufacturing in Iowa. Did you know manufacturing employs the most workers in Lee County with 18.4 percent of the workforce in the manufacturing sector in 2014? Additionally, 64 percent of workers employed in the manufacturing sector have training beyond high school.

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Iowa manufacturing is continuing to grow and change the way we do business in Southeast Iowa. Many of the materials made in Iowa impact lives across the country. We’d love to hear which events you attend!

The Restoring Iowa Jobs Team 

 

Restoring Iowa Jobs visits the Lee County Fair

The Restoring Iowa Jobs team was happy to attend the Lee County Fair last week and it was a wonderful experience! It was great to have to chance to speak with so many of you who live in Southeast Iowa and talk about the great things happening in this area. We enjoyed the conversations and hearing feedback and thoughts from you on how we can continue to work together to create a variety of jobs in these towns.

RIJ Lee County Fair Photo 2

At our booth, we featured a gift card give away from some special local businesses. We gave away one gift card to The Ivy Bake Shoppe and Café and another gift card to Fort Madison’s Chandler’s Grill. Fair-goers were entered to win by ‘liking’ us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or filling out a contact card. The two lucky winners of the cards were Denise Fraise and Nancy Folluo – Congratulations to you both!

We look forward to participating in more events in Southeast Iowa and as always, we look forward to hearing from you on how we can get involved in the community.  Feel free to send your ideas to info@restoringiowajobs.com. Also, be sure to keep up with the latest Southeast Iowa news by ‘liking’ us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, and keep on reading our latest blog posts.

Until next time,

Restoring Iowa Jobs team

RIJ Lee Co. Fair Photo 3

RIJ Lee County Fair Photo 1

State OKs tax breaks for fertilizer plant

Originally published on WCFCourier.com by Doug Hines. 
June 20, 2015

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DES MOINES (AP) — A state board has approved $25 million in extra tax breaks for a company building a giant fertilizer plant in southeast Iowa.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board on Friday approved the tax breaks for the Lee County plant after the Iowa Fertilizer Company pledged to add 11 more jobs. The project’s cost now totals $1.9 billion, and it will employ 180 people.

According to board documents, approval of the request brings the total amount of tax benefits the state has provided to the company to $107.5 million.