New Chamber position aims to promote economic growth
John Hall, the president and CEO of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce (MACC), is taking strides to combat the staffing issues local businesses are facing by developing a new position focused solely on the workforce.
Kyle Hall, of no relation to John Hall, is taking on the title of workforce development coordinator. Both John and Kyle are looking forward to the potential this position provides for the community.
This week is Kyle Hall’s first on the job, so he is taking the time to familiarize himself with all of the state and local resources available to him as well as connecting with business and school leaders to start building important relationships.
“I’m just excited to be here. I think it’s a big opportunity for Marshalltown and a big opportunity for me,” Kyle Hall said. “At the end of the day, this is a position I see as kind of like planting a tree. You don’t get the shade from it right away. I get to work and grow it, and as things get going, hopefully Marshalltown grows.”
While Kyle Hall’s background is mostly in sales, John Hall feels that his diverse sales experience and his longstanding presence in the community will be invaluable. Kyle Hall brings an industry perspective and was previously a member of the GMG school board. This position is one of the first of its kind anywhere in the state, so finding someone with experience specifically geared towards workforce development is challenging in and of itself.
“The truth is, there aren’t a lot of people that have done workforce development in the state in general. This is a very new field,” John Hall said.
The main focus will be strengthening Marshalltown’s workforce through initiatives like brainstorming new strategies to attract people to the community and encouraging the individuals already in the Marshalltown workforce to stay there and grow in their careers. John Hall especially hopes to cultivate the MACC’s relationship with public schools and the business sector.
“There’s some of the basic things we’ll be taking on first,” John Hall said. “So, everything we can do with our school systems throughout the county and integrating them with the business community to ensure that folks graduating understand that there are meaningful employment opportunities here.”
Whether or not these individuals want to go into the workforce immediately after graduation or if they choose to further their education, John Hall wants to stress there are many options open in Marshalltown that will provide not only a good job in the short term, but also room for growth in the future.
“Having somebody here who is focused on that allows us to be quick and adaptive to the needs and the changing tools and resources coming from the state and the federal government,” John Hall said. “It allows us to be adaptive and ready to go with whatever cards we’re dealt on a day-to-day basis for workforce.”
The workforce development coordinator position is one that is still in its infancy at the MACC. While John Hall covered certain projects regarding workforce prior to Kyle Hall’s onboarding, his involvement was usually minimal. Now that Kyle Hall is filling the position, John Hall hopes to expand those efforts.
“(The job is about) keeping people here. It’s about recruiting new people and it’s training up the folks that we’ve got here into more meaningful employment opportunities,” John Hall said.
With certain jobs offering starting wages between $17 and $19 an hour, John Hall is eager to help individuals who are still working for near minimum wage to achieve a better quality of life and make more money to invest in the local economy.
Another workforce dilemma that the MACC is looking to address is population growth. According to John Hall, if the MACC would look to bring in a business that needed 1,000 employees, there wouldn’t be enough people to staff it without “poaching” from the existing employment base.
“If we want to do true economic development, if we want to get back to the table on business recruitment and expansion, we have to be working on the workforce development side of things in order to make the case that we have the employment base necessary to facilitate business growth in our community,” John Hall said.
Kyle Hall is still learning the many ins and outs of his new position, but John Hall is confident that with some training and the resources available, Kyle will make a phenomenal workforce development coordinator.
Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or