Iowa Economic Development

A month or two ago I attended an event held by a economic developer for the state of Iowa. Here are my notes I took at the meeting:

(If you have questions about explaining my notes, feel free to ask.)

Iowa Economic Development

I. Economic Development (jobs, quality to jobs) in the Corridor

A. Good Education is why we have quality jobs

II. Quality of the Community

A. That includes: jobs, family incentives for the other 16 hours of the day

B. Housing Included

III. Interim Committee he has been on over break

A. Focused on

1. Skilled worker in groups

2. Companies (Rockwell = Engineers)

IV. Community Redevelopment

A. River Development

B. Trail

V. Culture of life, education, etc.

I. Economy in Iowa today

A. Iowa’s economy: “…very, very good..”

1. From “…urban to rural…”

B. Total workers: 1,675,000 it has been

C. Every other month produced a new number of added jobs (3.9% employment rate considered “descent”) – (National average: 4.6%)

1. 21,000 more workers today that a year ago

2. Iowa’s GDP: (In the last two years) = (at) the national average

a. This is good thing, because rural part of the state generally drags this along creating it to be less that the national average typically

b. Usually around the 25th to 32nd rank in GDP

D. Small Business Loans

1. Up 8-10% within the last couple of years

2. 15% of the loans are going to minorities

E. Negative things

1. Attorney General: Said Iowa was 9th for mortgage foreclosures in the US

F. Rural now great

1. $11 beans

2. $3.80 corn

3. 16% increase in land value all across the state

4. ADM (company like Cargill) Plant = Viable Refineries (“…they are wonderful…”)

a. Considered a “wet mill”

b. “…future of Iowa rural are…”

G. Urban (“…diversifying…”)

1. America is ridding many manufacturing jobs

2. 22.5% of the Iowa GDP comes from manufacturing

a. Iowa is doing well in manufacturing unlike the rest of America

b. This is all do to “…lean and advanced manufacturing


c. Agriculture is Iowa’s 10th largest economic sector (as a part of the State GDP)

H. Financial Services

1. Becoming a huge part of economy

II Short-term

A. Values Fund (2003) – tax credits and money incentives

1. $50 million over 10 years

2. Extremely balanced

a. About of the money goes to cities with less than 10,000 people and the other half goes to cities with more than 10,000 people.

B. 2004 part of the bill was considered to be unconstitutional

1. Rewritten

III. Long-term

A. Tal Strategy (from a “think tank” in Ohio)

1. Things Iowa needs to focus on in the future for economic development

a. Bio-sciences

b. Information-technology

c. Advance manufacturing

d. Chet Culver added: renewable energy

B. Research at ISU and UI is primary where the global research in the state is taking place. UNI is not up there in global research

1. Were not investing enough into this


C. Bring in cheaper more efficient products

1. Teach people how to use them through Kirkwood, community college courses

IV. Impediments to Growth

A. Not immune to national economy

B. Great work force, not enough of them

C. 5,000 jobs to fill (information-technology = Rockwell, Cargill)

D. Shortage of about 150,000 jobs in the next 5 years that will not be met in Iowa by companies. Meaning companies will have jobs, but no one to fill them with.

E. Entrepreneurship

1. Want graduate students to make $1 billion dollars (like in Silicon Valley, Boston)

2. “It is considered to not be cool at ISU and U of I.”

F. Commercialize at later stage

G. Iowa lacks serial entrepreneurs (people that will create successful business and then sell and then create another successful business and sell. They tend to leave Iowa to larger markets after selling the fist time.)

** Discussing more on the Iowa Values Fund

A. 60% of values fund goes to existing companies

B. 30% goes to out of state companies that have headquarters out of state

C. 10% goes to start-up

Discussed: Community Development Block Grams (Federal) to create market incentives for private to invest in Iowa.


When asked about Clusters of companies, he gave into the idea competition creating a better incentive for people to want invest their job in Iowa. This series of questions was raised by an engineering executive entrepreneur. Said Cedar Rapids is improving on this.



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