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Iowa State University Career Fair: Create your talent pipeline.

Workforce Services for Iowa businesses

Career Fairs are Coming! On-Campus Interviewing Saves Companies Money and Time

Each year, Iowa State University career fairs draw thousands of students seeking jobs and hundreds of companies recruiting new talent. This year, for companies looking to hire engineers, the only difference may be one of the settings—a new spot to conduct on-campus interviews.

CIRAS can help you find your Automation Answers

Iowa businesses want to know more about automation, and CIRAS is working on ways to help them.

CIRAS currently is looking to expand its automation support capabilities and could have more details available about that in the coming months.

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy Friday. Today, we have positive manufacturing news to report (and no, that is not an April Fool’s attempt at trickery), as well as a few other items to keep on your longer-term radar screen.

Here’s where you can find the information:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, April 15, 2016

Happy Friday and Happy Tax Day! Today’s highly deductible Digest spans a number of related topics – from wind and politicians to manufacturing productivity and robots.

Here’s where you can read about it all:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Friday. Lots of numbers and deep-thinking about big issues over the last week.

Here are a few things to read as you kill time waiting to escape the office and finally make it outside:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Friday. Very little in the way of breaking news in today’s Digest, but we’ve got a whole heap of background issue on a variety of issues.

So here’s where you go if you feel the urge to study up:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, April 29, 2016

Happy Friday. Very little of real news in this batch of Digest. But alas, much, much deep thinking.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Friday.  Today, the Digest has a hodge-podge of Chinese worry, overall manufacturing worry and a recipe for better rural living through art. Plus, they presumably no longer are going to worry at all about the worker shortage in Cincinnati.

Here’s where to find the information:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, August 7, 2015

Happy Friday.  The U.S. economy added jobs. Farmland lost value, and you can save as much as  6 percent on socks in Iowa this weekend.

Read on to learn more:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, February 26, 2016

Happy Friday. Today we have some bright-ish economic news, a shout out to tech pioneers in the flyover states. All this and a teensy bit more.

Here’s where you find it:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Happy Friday.  Incremental economic news today, plus a peek at overseas conditions and an assembly-line robot with a face.

Here’s what’s out there:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy Friday. We head into the weekend with some national projections, some overall positive news about Iowa’s economic prospects and a bunch of cool talk about 3-D printing.

Here’s something to read if you’re bored this weekend at the lake:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy Friday. Today, we provide a few glimmers of an economic uptick, an account of economic muscle being wielded as part of the nationwide reshoring campaign, and a small, kind-of-cool tale about how technology can make manufacturing better.

Here’s where to find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Friday. We’re posting late this afternoon due to a morning spent listing to Iowa economic development officials decide whether they were going to give us some money. (Spoiler alert: They did.)

Details on that and a few other things follow:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Friday. Today we have news of layoffs, higher consumer confidence, expanding demographics and the importance of beer.

The details:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Friday. We greet the approaching weekend with a look at how lousy the manufacturing economy is in some places. Also, some suggestions that things might just perk up a bit if we get some more Democrats and/or felons involved.

Here are the bipartisan highlights of what we’ve found interesting over the past few days:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy Friday. Today we bring you news of interest if you’re a taxpaying business in or around Des Moines and various takes on a potential manufacturing PR issue in terms of the industry’s impact on taxpayers as a whole.

Here’s where you find the information:

CIRAS Digest: Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Friday. Today, as we patrol the Internet, we find an unusual stockpile of happy and/or hopeful news. Plus, some deep thinking about the future.

Feel free to spend the weekend pondering it all. Start your studies here:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Friday. This afternoon’s installment of your friendly neighborhood CIRAS Digest includes a little industry optimism, some manufacturing cheerleading and a warning (of sorts) not to expect much out of the state capitol next year.

Here’s where you can find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, October 16, 2015

Happy Friday. Today, the Internet offers a little bit of everything when it comes to industry news. Tidbits include the fact that manufacturing in weak, that shoe-based innovation is still marching forward and that it’s hard to sell high-end Chinese liquor these days.

Here’s where you can find that and more:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, September 18, 2015

Happy Friday. Today’s crop of news tidbits includes a lot of looking forward, as well as a little looking backward to get the context on what’s going on right now.

Here’s where you look to find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, September 4, 2015

Happy Friday. More numbers out showing a slowing economy overall. A Forbes contributor is warning that higher wages will kill manufacturing jobs. But there’s a dude in Texas who’s launched a new manufacturing method that should make it much easier for you to start your own business.

Here’s what you need to know:

CIRAS DIGEST: Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Monday. Today’s DIGEST installment includes the full circuit of industry issues – the state of American manufacturing, the state of America’s skilled workforce, and the state of Iowa’s efforts to recruit more businesses to come be a part of it. Also, there’s a bit of talk about 3D-printed robots.

Here’s where you find all the details:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Monday, Happy Easter and Happy Opening Day.

Here’s what you missed while looking for those last two %@&#$#! eggs:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy Monday. Today’s Digest installment includes one final round of Iowa analysis from the caucus media hordes, plus a few interesting tidbits and some general crystal ball gazing.

Here’s where you can find it, while you worry about the snow:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Happy Monday. Today, the Newswire offers some  ISU alumni, plus a dash of economic optimism and a West Coast tome on why that’s incompatible with Republican politics.

For your information:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy Monday. And, for those of you who were away breaking your Spring (or staying burning vacation him to stay home watching small children and answer ISU email), welcome back.

Here’s our best attempt at reassembling what you might have missed:

CIRAS Digest: Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Monday from CIRAS Newswire, where a 70-degree Spring day means it’s time to change the photos in our windowless office.

Here’s what we’ve culled from the accumulated industry news over the weekend:

CIRAS DIGEST: Monday, November 11, 2015

Happy Monday. Today we have some gloomy financial numbers, a bit of political theater and some industry naval gazing.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS Digest: Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Happy Thursday. Today, while you’re huddling around the heating vent, we offer a wide variety of deep thinking.

Here’s what’s going on:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today we bring you news involving workers, retirements and, as always, some meditation on the general state of manufacturing in America. Plus, a reference to beer.

Here’s where you find the details:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Tuesday afternoon. Sorry for the delay, but it took a while to catch you up on all the industry news out there. Lots of gas-y talk and  complicated science out there for your perusal.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We have a general mishmash today of items to note and deep thoughts to be thunk. Also, a warning to check the label on those gas pumps carefully.

Here’s what we found for you, ICYMI:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today’s Digest includes more manufacturing statistics, with a little immigration policy thrown in for variety.

Here are the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Tuesday.  Lots of economic news and analysis in today’s collection, from Berkshire Hathaway naval gazing to an in-depth look at Mexican cars.

Here’s where you find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy Tuesday. They say variety is the spice of life. So today, we spice up the usual manufacturing numbers and industry projections with a little Trump, a little bird flu, and a whole lot of wine.  

Here’s where you find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is now the longest serving governor in Iowa. Polls say Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is on the rise. And Los Angles closed schools today in the face of an alleged terror threat.

But none of that has much to do with industry. So here are a few other random things that we thought you might like to know about:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today, after a dark day, we return with a still-short version of CIRAS Digest to celebrate our communications manager’s escape (for now) from the cooties of his flu-infested family.

Back in the office. Here’s what we’re reading:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015

Welcome to another of our (nearly always) daily attempts at helping you stay informed. Today’s roundup includes the governor, contradictory experts and early indications of a winter slowdown. So basically, it’s a Tuesday.

Here’s what going on in the world of industry today:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today we bring you Iowa politics, California navel gazing and some skepticism of the state of the union.

In that order:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today’s Digest offers a bit of happy fatalism, with articles that describe horrible economic news alongside bright outlooks for the future. At least the caucuses will be over soon….

Here’s where you can find what you need to know:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy Tuesday. CIRAS Digest returns from holiday vacation this week with a slightly thicker waistline and a pile of gloomy prognostication to peruse.

Here’s where you can find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We’ve got a little Trump news this morning, as well as economic tidbits, some insight into clustered manufacturing expertise and some video of a building blowing up.

Take your pick. Here’s where to click:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy Tuesday. News this day of a estimated time for the arrival of cheaper chicken. Also, an update on reshoring and some  ozone advocacy from Vermeer.

Here’s where you can find it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We return from the holidays with a host of hard-news stories, including mixed manufacturing messages and plans for a “super park” that we suspect will be short on slides.

We’ll start with the latest round of contradictory statistical interpretations:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy Tuesday. There’s a wide variety of news out there. We have broad numbers. We have deep-thinking analysis. We have detailed technical stuff. And we have Iowa references aplenty.

Here’s what you need to know:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We’re heavy on opinion pieces today, with people across the country opining on what is good bad or doomed about the American manufacturing sector. Read it. Enjoy the argument – along with a little bit of news sprinkled throughout this list.

Here’s where you find it:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happy Tuesday. As part of our continuing effort to make sense of things for you, we’re trying to consolidate some of the CIRAS Digest information.  We’re going to take a stab at posting on fewer days but with more information. Let us know how it works.

For today, at least, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Today we bring you whiplash – flat economic numbers, flat economic numbers that likely are heading bad…. and good tax receipts for the state. Plus, a planned surge in robots and a strong future for manufacturing.

Here’s where to find it:

CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We’re a little all over the place this morning, with Medicaid news, electric car news and the economics of beef and apples.

Here is where you can find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Happy Tuesday.  Today’s mix of industry news collected from around the Internet includes two interesting accounts of producing local for local, plus some recently fixed “stupid” and an account of the roadtripping by Iowa’s economic PR arm.

Here’s where you find the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Happy Tuesday. A lot of manufacturing news, both good and pessimistic.

Here’s where to find it all:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy Tuesday. We have a wide range of news today, from important pastry preparations to a weighty state economic report, a warning about manufacturing unions and concerns about farmers.

Here’s where you can find the specifics:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, September 15, 2013

Happy Tuesday. We start with the Obama context, then move on to Etsy, economic forecasts and a little deep thinking about the future of metal additive manufacturing.

Here’s where to find all the details:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Welcome back from the weekend. You don’t appear to have missed much – outside of a major publishing deal with Iowa implications and a few additional inklings about more fallout from consternation in China.

Here’s what we’re reading today:

CIRAS Digest: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015

Happy Wednesday. And for Pete’s sake, stay inside if it’s at all humanly possible to do so. It’s nasty out there.

As we shiver, here’s what we’re reading:

CIRAS Digest: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Wednesday. There are two main takeaways from today’s Digest – Manufacturing employment is up, and we have the (decent) economy to blame for the current political sideshows.

Here where you can read about it:

CIRAS DIGEST: Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Happy Wednesday. Today’s Digest features plenty of CIRAS news, as well as some gloomy economics and some potential job opportunities.

Here’s where you find it all:

CIRAS Digest: Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015

Happy Wednesday.

Lots of talk out there today. Talk about manufacturing, job training and broadband, among other things. Plus, a daily affirmation from the Wall Street Journal.

The weather is warm(ish). Wade in:

CIRAS Digest: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015

Happy Wednesday. President Obama may have won both of his elections, but he appears to have not yet won the hearts and minds of the manufacturing press – as judging by a roughly pessimistic tone we’re seeing to many of the post-State of the Union coverage.

We’ve got a few bright spots today, but also some bluntly worded gloom.

Here, my fellow Americans, is what you need to know:

CIRAS DIGEST: Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Wednesday. Today brings bad economic news — well, at least not great economic news. What we have is more like a mixture of economic interpretations. Also, another story about how 3-D printing is cool.

Here’s where you can find it all: 

CIRAS DIGEST: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Happy Wednesday. Today is the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s Advanced Manufacturing Conference, and Friday is National Manufacturing Day.

Here are a few good places to start with all that learning:

CIRAS News: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Happy Tuesday. Another wave of numbers today, plus factory workers and farm machinery.

Here’s where to find it:


CIRAS project manager Jeff Mohr is easing his way into an early-June retirement. We managed to make him stop on his way out the door to share some of his wisdom.

CIRAS Strategy Coach Helps Facilitate Answers, Action

There are countless paths that a company can take in pursuit of growing revenue and increasing profitability. Every decision made along the way tends to matter: Should you invest in equipment upgrades, employee training, new technology, or better marketing? Should you push for better quality or new product features? How different are you, really, from your competitors? How do you identify and successfully navigate your most effective strategic path?

CIRAS to Partner with Alliant Energy, Open new Digital Manufacturing Lab

AMES, IA – Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) is pleased to announce a new partnership with Alliant Energy that will make it easier for Iowa manufacturers to implement new digital technologies and become more productive.

CIRAS wraps up month-long “MFG Day” with Pizza, PowerPoint

Thanks to CIRAS and its partners, an estimated 8,000 or more Iowans ended October with a higher appreciation for the people who make a living making things.

School children, parents and community leaders attended a total of 149 events in October to commemorate national Manufacturing Day – an annual October 7 industry celebration that Iowa stretches into month-long educational opportunity.

Cleaning Cobot is Coming to Miracle Tool America

Dozens of times each day, the skilled workers at Miracle Tools America in Davenport must stop what they’re doing and clean. Making drill bits can be a dirty business, and the tiny water channels that are used to keep tools cool have a tendency to get clogged.

Hence, the company decided to begin experimenting with a new type of employee – one that wouldn’t mind the monotony.

One who is made of metal.

Come for MFG Day, Stay for the Relationship with Future Workers

Iowa’s nationally renowned campaign to encourage the statewide celebration of national Manufacturing Day has gotten a slight makeover in 2018—with new people leading Iowa State University’s efforts and an increased emphasis on reaching out to children and educators.

Des Moines Career & Trades Expo on Friday

CIRAS is not a direct part of this, but we just want to remind you that the Des Moines Career & Trade Expo is set for Friday morning at the Valley Community Center in West Des Moines.

Produced by Cumulus Media, the expo  is presented by Tero International & Marketlink. Organizers say it will highlight employers looking for workers to fill positions within the Trades & Skilled Labor sector. But the expo also is being billed as an event “unlike any you may have previously attended.”

FYI: Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy Frozen Friday. (That’s a temperature-in-our-communications-office reference, not notice of a particular Disney-themed day at ISU.)

One of the things we hope to do with the CIRAS Newswire is make you more aware of interesting stories out there that impact industry or that you might have missed.

Here’s what we declare to be interesting today:

Iowa FIRST LEGO® League Close to Top in Per Capita Participation

Iowa now ranks second nationwide in per capita youth membership on a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team.

Yet, even with another year of explosive growth in Iowa youth getting a STEM boost through research and robots, Camille Schroeder, director of K–12 outreach programs at Iowa State University’s College of Engineering, said the participation milestone does not mean that Iowa’s FLL program has stopped recruiting students and mentors.

“We want to be able to provide this experience for any youth who wants it,” Schroeder said.

Iowa Officially Launches Year of Manufacturing

 Former Gov. Terry Branstad, Governor Kim Reynolds and a host of other Iowa governmental and business leaders recently unveiled a plan to boost Iowa factories during a “Year of Manufacturing.”

The Year of Manufacturing initiative, which was announced in January during Branstad’s Condition of the State address, is designed to be a 12-month, concentrated focus on improving Iowa’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product. Led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and CIRAS, business leaders plan to fan out across the state to visit with companies and make certain that each firm is aware of the resources available to help them improve.

Iowa Program Helps Companies Afford Some Added Expertise—By Adding Interns

Interns at ALMACO get much more than an overview of the company’s custom-built agricultural equipment. They become part of the team.

Brian Carr, ALMACO’s vice president of engineering, said student employees at the Nevada-based company get directly involved in completing projects—from initial design, through problem-solving challenges, to the eventual result.

Iowa State Career Fairs Let Companies, Students Share Stories

Hundreds of companies will again flock to the Iowa State University campus next week for a twice-yearly ritual focused, on both sides of the handshakes, at quickly forging as many relationships as possible.

Iowa State University Introduces Two New Online Master’s Degree Programs

ISU’s Engineering-LAS Online Learning recently launched new online master’s degree programs in engineering management and business analytics. Both are collaborative efforts with the Iowa State University College of Business.

Iowans Turn Out in Droves to Celebrate Manufacturing Day

U.S. Manufacturing Day technically was Oct. 2. But thanks to a long list of organizers and promoters (including CIRAS, Elevate Iowa, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and community colleges around the state) the celebration in Iowa continues throughout the rest of October.

Iowa’s Governor Officially Launches ‘Year of Manufacturing’ Initiative

 Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and a host of other Iowa governmental and business leaders have unveiled a plan to boost Iowa factories during a “Year of Manufacturing.”

The Year of Manufacturing initiative, which was announced in January during Branstad’s Condition of the State address, is designed to be a 12-month, concentrated focus on improving Iowa’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product. Led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and CIRAS, business leaders plan to fan out across the state to visit with companies and make certain that each firm is aware of the resources available to help them improve.

ISBF and IEDA Help Iowa Facilities Managers get a CEM

One key step toward making Iowa buildings more energy efficient is to place them into the hands of people who know how to find savings. Toward that end, two CIRAS partners have joined forces to help Iowa companies interested in reducing their energy costs.

ISU Job Fairs Start Sept. 19 (but it all Starts with CyHire)

Iowa State University’s digital job board helps companies connect with a pool of potential employees that includes both graduates and current students.

“CyHire is my one-stop shop for finding internships,” said Bradley Hagen, a senior in mechanical engineering. “There are always hundreds of jobs on CyHire. The built-in search filter is helpful when deciding which companies and jobs I’m going to pursue.”

It’s Iowa State University Career Fair Time Again

Iowa State University’s twice-yearly flurry of smart people seeking employment started on Wednesday.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to attend a spring career fair:

Manufacturing Day (Month) 2016: Iowa Students Discover the Possibilities

Shelly Vanyo smiled happily as her science and engineering students milled around a Boone High School classroom ogling various tiny machine parts made inside a metal 3D printer at Iowa State University.

Mission accomplished. They students were excited, and their teacher was pleased.

MEP Best Practices Conference: Lessons Learned

In September, leaders and subject matter experts from around the MEP National NetworkTM gathered in Kansas City for our biennial best practices conference. Why is this a big deal?  The 300 or so manufacturing experts in attendance brought back lessons learned from working with more than 26,000 U.S. manufacturers in the last year alone. In addition to sharing operational practices that make us successful, this was an opportunity to get a pulse on American manufacturing.

Northeast Iowa Conference to Address Manufacturing Workforce Challenges

Northeast Iowa manufacturers struggling to modernize and grow will have the chance to learn new strategies designed to improve their bottom line in any economy.

Snapshot of Iowa’s Professional and Business Services Sector


State of the State – by Liesl Eathington

A previous “State of the State” explored growth in Iowa’s young worker population and the fact that production jobs are a declining fraction of the opportunities available to them. The breadth of those opportunities—or at least workers’ perceptions of what opportunities exist in the labor market—can be glimpsed in trends for post-secondary education.

State of the State: Looking for Clues to Competitiveness in Iowa’s Manufacturing Wages

Wage levels both reflect and influence the competitiveness of Iowa’s manufacturing sector. The average manufacturing worker in Iowa earned $42,470 in 2015, about 86 percent of the national average. Accounting for Iowa’s lower cost of living improves the picture, boosting the state’s pay on a price parity basis to 95 percent of the U.S. average.

The pay differential* for Iowa’s manufacturing workers varies by the type of work they perform. Iowa’s average production worker, for example, earns 104 percent of the average U.S. production worker’s wage. Iowa‘s engineering-related workers average just 90 cents for every dollar earned by their national peers.

This article demonstrates how closer attention to wage distributions might inform the state’s innovation and workforce attraction/retention efforts. For our example, we classify Iowa and U.S. manufacturing jobs along two dimensions: occupation and inferred skill or experience level. Nine occupational groups are considered, which together account for 95 percent of all manufacturing jobs.

The Dimensional Group Finds a New Approach

By the time CIRAS walked through his door, Adam Gold was ready to listen.

It was 2014, and it was clear that The Dimensional Group was a company with problems. The Mason City custom packaging and commercial printing firm had stretched beyond its capabilities.

The Future of Manufacturing is Happening Today

Every day we see something “new” in manufacturing. 3D Printed food, connected everything, cobots, and the list goes on. In fact, we’ve heard of these possibilities for decades. But something about these things seems a bit more real now than in the past. Like something important is happening

Why Existing Workers Are the Real Answer to Iowa’s Workforce Problem

Iowa is out of people.

Almost every company I talk to, regardless of size, industry, or location, says that finding good people is their number one issue. The few exceptions are expert Lean practitioners—such as members of the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC)—who tend to look at the issue differently: If every single person in our business was better at seeing, communicating, and solving problems, they ask, wouldn’t it help our workforce needs?

WORKFORCE PIPELINE: CIRAS Helps Companies Find Solutions

CIRAS projects have a big impact on Iowa and its communities.

One of the things we do is to help companies find their way around a scarcity of workers. Sometimes, that means helping them reach out to graduating students:

WORKFORCE: In Worker Shortage, Companies Can Build Stability by Sharing

Donna Dau’s goal for each of the last three years has been to replace as few employees as possible.

But shrinking that number in the future means a lot of recruitment right now—both of new workers and of the new companies that Dau hopes will help her expand on a potentially groundbreaking way of dealing with Iowa’s looming shortage of skilled laborers.

WORKFORCE: If They Won’t Come, Build It—With a Robot

The evolution of manufacturing is occurring bit by bit across Iowa—including, among other places, at a metal door factory in Mason City.

Curries, part of the Sweden-based ASSA ABLOY Group, is where roughly 490 production workers go each day to produce steel doors and frames.Since 2012, the company has been working steadily to automate the final phase of its door-handling process—a manual labor-intense procedure that tends to spawn high turnover and can cause the kind of muscle injuries that are common in an aging workforce.

Working on Workforce: Productive Firms Have Fewer Problems Finding People

For Nancy Jacobs, it boils down to a tale of two departments.

In April, Jacobs became human resources manager for Misty Harbor, a Fort Dodge boat manufacturer that has been working with CIRAS for several years to get leaner and improve its productivity. Misty Harbor last year credited training in disciplines such as Lean manufacturing and the Theory of Constraints, among others, with boosting the company’s bottom line by an estimated $2 million in new and retained sales.

But the transformation is still in progress.

WORKING ON WORKFORCE: The Importance of Growing What You’ve Got

In a time of tight budgets and unfavorable demographics, it’s in Dave Zrostlik’s best interest to keep all the employees he has.

Zrostlik is president of Stellar Industries, an employee-owned maker of truck-mounted hydraulic equipment in Garner. Like the rest of Iowa, Stellar faces a growing shortage of skilled workers, as older employees retire and young rural residents head out of town for the brighter lights of big cities.

Working on Workforce: What to Measure and What Works Best

Iowa has been working on its workforce for a long time.

The state’s current labor market condi­tions are challenging employers who seek skilled workers. Some define the problem as a skills gap, others call it an overall workforce shortage, and still oth­ers blame current wage levels. Whatever the label, a growing disconnect between Iowa’s workforce supply and employer demands is threatening to weaken the state’s economic growth potential.

So what’s to be done?

Working on Workforce: What to Measure and What Works Best

Iowa has been working on its workforce for a long time.

The state’s current labor market condi­tions are challenging employers who seek skilled workers. Some define the problem as a skills gap, others call it an overall workforce shortage, and still oth­ers blame current wage levels. Whatever the label, a growing disconnect between Iowa’s workforce supply and employer demands is threatening to weaken the state’s economic growth potential.

So what’s to be done?

 Leaning Together: Why ILC is Now Part of CIRAS

It’s the dawning of a new era for the Iowa Lean Consortium, and Teresa Hay McMahon is focused on a new world of service.

McMahon, executive director of the ILC since 2015, just finished leading the consortium through a new phase of its evolution. On July 1, the ILC formally moved under the CIRAS umbrella as part of a merger that’s intended to give both entities more resources to achieve their goals.