A skilled trades tour

Dem gubernatorial candidate Hubbell visits MCC

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell toured skilled trades facilities and talked to students at Marshalltown Community College Tuesday morning. He was joined by former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and state Rep. Mark Smith on the tour. Pictured from left in the MCC welding lab: Judge, welding instructor John Patterson, Hubbell.

A little more than a year out from the 2018 midterm election, Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell visited Marshalltown Community College Tuesday to discuss skilled trades and jobs.

“We have so many jobs that are open across our state,” the retired businessman said. “It’s great to see young people get the right training for these jobs, because so often we hear that we don’t have enough people with proper training to fill these jobs.”

Hubbell was joined on the facilities tour by former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and state Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown. The group spoke with students and faculty in the college’s welding and machine tool technology programs.

“We also realize there is room to put some more people in the classroom,” Hubbell said. “The training is here, we just need to get more people to realize that these are good jobs, and the training is good, and it’s a nice lifestyle.”

He said the state has a high number of manufacturers looking to hire, calling the need for workers “the biggest short-term opportunity we have in our state.”

MCC machine trades instructor Al Parks said the program offers students an opportunity to learn valuable skills and secure a job, often before they finish school.

“It’s pretty high-tech, there’s a lot of computer programming and math,” Parks said of machine trades. Despite the potential benefits of the program, he said the cap of 15 first-year students isn’t usually met.

MCC welding instructor John Patterson introduced Hubbell to some of the program’s students and led the tour through a welding lab.

“We know every student by name,” he said. “We can jump in, booth-by-booth, and work with them.”

Hubbell said one of his goals is to see educational institutions and businesses working together.

“That’s one of my big focuses, is trying to get the employers and the educational groups, like this, and the high schools, working more closely together to help more families, more individuals realize that these are good jobs,” he said.

Another subject Hubbell touched on was infrastructure.

“We need to put infrastructure investments all across our state,” he said. “Unfortunately, I think what we’ve seen with Gov. [Kim] Reynolds and the current legislature is that most of the infrastructure seems to be put in the two corridors … Des Moines-Ames and Iowa City-Cedar Rapids.”

While Hubbell said those areas do have infrastructure needs, he added rural Iowa must also see such improvements. Along with filling manufacturing jobs and improving infrastructure, he said getting high-speed internet access to rural parts of Iowa is one of his goals.

With several Democratic candidates in the gubernatorial race ahead of the June 5, 2018 primary election, Hubbell touted his business experience and previous work in state government as factors that set him apart.

“I’m the only one that has had the kind of private sector experience that I’ve had, working for over 20 years running large Iowa businesses all across the state,” he said. “I’m very experienced at leading large organizations and managing budgets.”

He also described his experience as chairman of the Iowa Power Fund during the administration of former Gov. Chet Culver and his four-year tenure as the head of the Iowa Department of Economic Development as strengths.

“I’ve got the kind of experience that we need in our state, someone who can come in an fix these budget problems and re-orient where we’re going to put the money behind education, health care and getting incomes up,” Hubbell said. “I want to do it by putting people first.”


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com