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Union County students become more prepared for Iowa careers

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 9:11 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 11:03 a.m. CDT
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds smiles and points at Creston High School senior Jacob Marlin's T-shirt that supports keeping wrestling as an olympic sport. Reynolds visited Union County to distribute certificates to Creston and East Union students who earned career readiness certificates through Iowa Workforce Development.

Students from Creston High School and East Union Community Schools were presented with career readiness certificates (CRC) Union County: A Skilled Iowa Future’s event Tuesday. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds spoke at the event and shook each student’s hand as she gave them the certificate.

“Counties and communities are uniting together to make sure that Iowa has a workforce that’s prepared for the jobs of the 21st century,” said Reynolds.


The career readiness certificate is a “credential … that gives (a) uniform, standard objective of skills for the workplace,” according to Iowa Workforce Development’s website. IWD is implementing the CRC to address the difficulties in employment in southern Iowa through Skilled Iowa.

“Skilled Iowa is a robust operation with over 5,000 business members,” said Reynolds, “and southern Iowa has been a part of it since its inception. … June 11, 2012, we launched the Skilled Iowa initiative, to help Iowans develop skills and compete for opportunities and also for a better quality of life.”

IWD’s website also states the certificate is being used across the county as a national employment credential by job seekers, and by employers to assess a person’s readiness and trainability for entry- and mid-level jobs.

“Iowa, we’re fortunate, has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country,” Reynolds said. “And, our goal is also to be known for one of the best workforces in the nation.”


Representatives of businesses and organizations came to the event at Southwestern Community College (SWCC) Tuesday to show their support of the CRC, such as the city of Creston, Grapevine Staffing, SWCC and Union County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’d like to commend the public-private partnership between Iowa Workforce Development and Union County Development Association, Southwestern Community College, area businesses, local schools, who are working together to address, really, the workforce needs of southern Iowa,” said Reynolds.

The CRC, according to Iowa Workforce Development’s website, has given employers a clear, standardized tool to assess the skill level of potential and current employees to assure job applicants actually have the basic work skills they seek.

“We’ve been a net exporter of talent for so long, coming out of our community colleges, coming out of our regent universities and coming out of our private colleges,” said Ed Wallace, IWD deputy director. “What this administration has been doing a very good job of is really trying to identify how do we keep the kids, border to border, river to river, in our home towns, in our municipalities, working in careers that perhaps they never even thought of.”

Round table

After the certificate event, Reynolds met with business representatives to discuss in more detail what Iowa politicians are doing to improve Iowa’s workforce, which included the CRC and education reform.

“I think it’s been a really positive thing for our education system and for our students, to have industry really involved and helping define what our kids need to be skilled in as they move through their educational process,” Reynolds said.

Business representatives also discussed with Reynolds other things that were on their minds to help improve the southwestern Iowa area in ways other than jobs, such as property taxes and infrastructure.

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