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Governor touts Skilled Iowa program in Marshalltown

Community among leaders in the state

December 19, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

The need to match skills of a potential workforce to the available jobs is part of new state initiative called Skilled Iowa.

Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert visited Marshalltown Community College Tuesday to promote the program.

This Skilled Iowa initiative allows for a National Career Readiness Certificate test to be taken by high schoolers to see what skill sets they have. This NCRC certification is especially important for those that don't plan to attend four-year colleges.

Article Photos

Marshalltown High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay, left, talks with Gov. Terry Branstad Tuesday during a Skilled Iowa event at Marshalltown Community College.

"Not every student will go on to formal education, so we have to make sure that students are ready to go to work," Wahlert said.

The NCRC test looks at three main skills sets - applied mathematics, reading for content and information searching.

Marshalltown has formally signed on to be a Skilled Iowa community and Branstad said the community has a history of business success.

"One of the keys to continuing that success into the future is ensuring that we have a properly trained workforce," Branstad said.

For Marshalltown, a similar program has already been put in place thanks to the efforts of the Business-Education Alliance, which tries to match training to the available jobs.

"We were out ahead of you," Iowa Valley Community College District Chancellor Chris Duree said to Branstad and Wahlert.

Marshalltown High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay said they are already doing NCRC certification at MHS and will have students certified by the end of this semester.

"It's relevant, and it's hands on," Phomvisay said.

Paul Gregoire, global vice president of human resources at Emerson Process Management/Fisher Controls, said Fisher is on board with this Skilled Iowa program, and it didn't take much convincing. He even borrowed a line from the movie "Jerry Maguire" when talking about the program to the governor.

"You had us at 'Hello,'" Gregoire said.

Branstad said the Skilled Iowa commitment will allow Marshalltown to help grow current employers and attract new businesses.



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