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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

World Teachers’ Day – Honoring those who inspire for a brighter tomorrow

World Teachers' Day

World Teachers’ Day was created to honor and inspire for a brighter tomorrow. Today, teachers all over the world are being celebrated and we couldn’t be prouder of what our teachers in Iowa are doing to better the education of students in the area.

Iowa is nationally recognized for top quality K-12 public education system, world-class colleges and universities, and customized vocational and technical training programs through an extensive community college network.

Iowa has a high school graduation rate of 93.4 percent and Iowa students continue to outscore their peers on standardized tests. We could not reach these numbers without the hard work our teachers put in to educate our students.

Thanks to the motivated teachers in Iowa, our students will be experienced and successful once they hit the job market. In Lee County alone, almost 90 percent of residents are employed full or part-time.

As you head to class this week or pick your child up from school, take the time to let a teacher know how much you care about the work they are putting in to help Iowans succeed!

Happy #WorldTeachersDay!

The Restoring Iowa Jobs Team

 

Growing Lee County

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Located in the farthest southeast corner of Iowa, Lee County is not one to overlook. Within a short time, the county has seen significant growth and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Renewable energy, agribusiness, manufacturing, and biotechnology are just a few of the county’s top industries that have seen significant economic growth in recent months. The construction of Iowa Fertilizer is just one great example of the vast economic impact that the region has recently seen. Since the project began in 2012, economic activity has increased as a result of the 2,900 construction workers brought on site to build the plant. Hotels, restaurants, and real estate numbers have risen due to the increased number of people in the region. With this as well as other projects in the area, Lee County’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.4 percent to 5.9 percent by the end of January 2015.

Lee County Economic Development Group is working feverishly in other ways to continue growth, such as this, and further grow the area’s businesses and workforce. Most recently, our team launched Grow Lee, a new initiative aimed at providing resources to expand STEM education, adult education programs, and provide essential resources for Lee County businesses. Our group also has launched the Lee County 2018 Capital Campaign. This initiative spans five years and hopes to grow development in multiple areas including, workforce attraction and workforce development, business expansion and retention, new business attraction, and economic development marketing. With the $1.3 million dollars raised for the program, our group will focus the majority of the funds on workforce development and business retention and expansion programs.

As we look ahead, Lee County EDG is calling 2015 the Year of Action and is excited to continue to make progress for these new initiatives, as well as assist the region’s businesses, workforce, and overall economic growth and development. Be sure to mark these upcoming events on your calendar to get involved in helping to grow Lee County.

·      Talent for Today and Tomorrow Breakfast – Up Training Existing Workforce

Wednesday, April 15

7:30 – 8:30 am

Lake Cooper Event Center, Keokuk

·      Young Professionals Meet and Greet Social

Wednesday, April 22

5:30 pm

Sidelines Sports Bar, Fort Madison

·      Southeast Iowa STEM Festival

Saturday, April 25

10:00 am – 2:00 pm

SCC West Burlington Campus, Register to exhibit today!

Lee County EDG, in concert with our partners, are making an impact in Southeast Iowa. To find out more about upcoming opportunities and how you can get involved contact Lee County EDG at dklesner@leecountyedg.com.

Dana Klesner, Marketing and Communications Manager

Lee County Economic Development Group

Dana