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.

PTAP TIPS: New Options May Be on Horizon for Small-Business Mentoring

(ICYMI, here’s another in CIRAS’ series of “Did You Know?” informational guides authored by the experts with our Procurement Technical Assistance Program. Their purpose is to help guide businesses through the world of government contracting. Check the end of the story for contract information.)

Did you know that the U.S. Small Business Administration is working on a new program that will allow all types of small businesses to have a mentor protégé agreement (MPA) and potential joint ventures with other businesses, even large businesses?

New CIRAS paper shows Iowa Industries may be at a Reshoring Tipping Point

Manufacturing jobs that fled U.S. soil decades ago for cheaper overseas labor might now be poised to come back – but only in certain sectors and only a little at a time, according to a newly released white paper from two CIRAS experts.

The upshot for Iowa is that producers in a handful of tipping-point industries should be keeping a close eye on labor and energy prices. In some cases, CIRAS experts say, those numbers could prove that manufacturers are paying too much to foreign suppliers or that U.S.-based suppliers are missing an opportunity.

CIRAS NEWS: Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Friday. Ready for the holiday? We suggest you avoid any new projects this morning and instead spend today catching up on a few days’ worth of industry news.

Here’s what you might learn while trying hard to look busy:

BREAKING: CIRAS, NICC Partner to Better Serve Northeast Iowa Businesses

DUBUQUE– Northeast Iowa businesses should now find it easier to get what they need to grow.

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) and Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) have announced a partnership to provide a single point of contact for businesses seeking help in that region. As part of this agreement, Seth Gilbert, J.D., has been named the NICC/CIRAS Account Manager for the Dubuque area and will be charged with helping businesses find the programs and support services they need in either or both entities.

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.”