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‘Growing a strong, diverse community’ goal of upcoming forum by Iowa Business Council

As the Iowa economy grows, so does the need for workers.

Consequently, that is why the Iowa Business Council — a consortium of 23 top Iowa business executives — is tackling head-on the challenge of meeting a state-wide need.

The problem ranks number one or is high on the list as rated by academicians, business leaders and elected officials.

A potential solution: Take advantage of a strong diverse community where they exist — such as Marshalltown — or grow them.

Having worked aggressively to address labor shortage issues, local and state-wide health care provider UnityPoint Health is hosting IBC’s first 2019 Vision to Vitality Forum in Marshalltown 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. April 2 at DeJardin Hall on the Marshalltown Community College campus.

The forum is free-of-charge and open to the public and media.

“We jumped at the opportunity to participate and host this discussion,” Chief Executive Officer UnityPoint Health – Waterloo Region Pam Delagardelle said. “I am interested in diversity and inclusion as a workforce strategy. We have been trying to pilot and test the number of strategies in some of our other markets … to use diversity and inclusion as an economic development tool and workforce strategy, especially at a time when it is a difficult time to recruit enough people into health care.”

Joining Delagardelle on the panel is JBS Human Resource Manager Nicolas Aguirre, Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinser and Marshalltown Community School District Superintendent Theron Schutte. Moderator is IBC Executive Director Georgia Van Gundy.

“Our members know and understand in order to continue to grow our state economy, we need to increase and diversify Iowa’s population,” Van Gundy said. “The Iowa Business Council’s executive-level leaders are eager to hear from Marshalltown business and community leaders and residents on their journey in growing a thriving community rooted in the celebration of diversity.”

With more than two years experience as Marshalltown’s administrator, Iowa native Kinser has a perspective on diversity and workforce development.

“The IBC is an impressive group,” she said. “They wanted to come to Marshalltown for a reason, so I was motivated to participate. Diversity is something we struggle with and sometimes succeed with on a daily basis. Additionally, the 2020 census is coming up. I think part of Marshalltown’s vitality is making sure everyone in this community is counted … diversity is not anything that should scare somebody away from participating in the census … and hopefully through the upcoming census we can show truly how diverse our community is, and progressively more diverse … as a community we have done it (managed diversity) well.

“I am looking forward to talking about the issues with the moderator and other panelists. I hope to bring a community-wide perspective to the discussion.”

Panelists Aguirre and Schutte both have unique vantage points developed from work experience and their professions. JBS is a pork producer and the city’s largest employer with more than 2,000 employees. Schutte oversees one of the largest and most diverse school districts in North Central Iowa.

IBC members and organizers is eager to gather feedback from forum attendees on barriers to meeting current workforce needs; ideas on what the state can do to increase and diversify Iowa’s population; and, share their best practices on incorporating and championing diversity and cultural inclusion in their community and work places.

The event will also include a brief overview of the IBC and its economic data, RSVP via email to ibc@iowabusinesscouncil.org.

For more information on IBC and to access its research and data, visit IowaBusinessCouncil.org

About IBC

The Iowa Business Council (IBC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose 23 members are the chief decision makers of major Iowa employers. One in six jobs in Iowa are tied to an IBC company. Member companies have invested billions of dollars of capital in Iowa’s commercial infrastructure; lead the way in technology innovation, R&D, and grants procured; and, are often the driving financial and volunteer forces behind philanthropic efforts throughout Iowa.

Member companies include: UnityPoint Health; Vermeer Corporation; Iowa Bankers Association; Alliant Energy; Casey’s General Stores, Inc.; Corteva Agriscience; Deere & Company; Fareway; FBL Financial Group, Inc.; HNI Corporation; Hy-Vee, Inc., Kent Corporation; MercyOne; Meredith Corporation; MidAmerican Energy Company; Pella Corporation; Principal; Rockwell Collins; Ruan Transportation Management Systems; The Weitz Company; The University of Iowa Health Care; Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa; and, Wells Enterprises, Inc.