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

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 

 

Future in STEM is bright for students

By: Kristine Bullock, SE Iowa STEM Hub Manager

It may not be the most well-known corner of the state. It may not have the tallest skyscrapers or the fastest-growing business sector. It may also not contain the most exciting travel destinations. But what it does have is a commitment to this state’s future and an abundance of opportunities for the upcoming generation of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enthusiasts. Despite its small-town status, the Southeast region of Iowa has a lot to offer its residents and the entire state when it comes to STEM. These fields of study, through which countless career paths can be entered, has recently earned a lot of focus, and Southeast Iowa is at the forefront.

As the Southeast regional hub manager of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, I am passionate in my work to promote and encourage STEM in this area of the state. With numerous STEM-related opportunities available to primary and secondary education students, Southeast Iowa is preparing its upcoming generation whose future will be heavily dependent on these fields. To meet these goals, the region hosted The Southeast Iowa STEM Festival at the Southeastern Community College in Burlington on April 25, and was an experience for students and their families that encouraged entry into the world of STEM. There were various exhibits, games, and other activities aimed at providing a realistic view into the most exciting elements of the STEM fields.

Southeast Iowa teachers and schools also have been recognized for their efforts in increasing STEM in the region. Fourteen schools were recently named 2015 Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program winners, and almost sixty educators in our region were nominated for the STEM Education Award for Inspiring Teaching sponsored by Kemin Industries.

With this kind of opportunity and talent to educate our students, Southeast Iowa is well-equipped to produce a new generation of bright, hopeful, and educated young professionals dedicated to the world of science, technology, engineering, and math. These are exactly the kind of individuals Iowa needs to fill the skills gap the state has experienced in its workforce, and even more so in STEM jobs. In fact, a study conducted by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce indicated that for every 3.4 STEM jobs available in the state, there is only one STEM-qualified individual in Iowa to fill that position.

This information spurred Iowa to take action. In 2011, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council was created as a way to keep Iowa competitive in STEM education and strengthen the state’s STEM educated workforce. Harnessing talent within the state also will ultimately help Iowa businesses find the talent they need and in turn help to grow the economy.

Southeast Iowa is home to many quality businesses that focus on STEM industries, including Siemens, DuPont, and Cryotech. These are only a few of the companies excelling in STEM-inspired industries, providing jobs all over Southeast Iowa, and re-establishing a strong economy for the region and ultimately, the state.