Capital Solutions: March 2016
Across Central Iowa, industries such as finance, health care, advanced manufacturing, and others report being unable to find a sufficient number of qualified workers to fill open positions. Education Drives our Greater Economy (EDGE) is designed to address the critical need to solving the skills gap facing Central Iowa employers, and it is committed to improving the educational pipeline that is crucial to achieving a skilled workforce and human talent pipeline. The goal of EDGE is to:
“Ensure that 75 percent of Central Iowa adults attain a postsecondary certificate, credential or degree by 2025 that align with workforce needs.”
EDGE was formed as a result of the Capital Crossroads regional vision plan and is powered by the Greater Des Moines Partnership in collaboration with the Business Education Alliance. The “75×25” campaign goal was formed with input by 140 private and public partners who recognize the role education and business play in building a sustainable talent pipeline. EDGE is focused on aligning existing programs in Central Iowa to ensure they are working toward the same overarching goal. Some of those programs include the United Way of Central Iowa’s “Bridges to Success” initiative to award 10,000 high school equivalency diplomas to Central Iowa residents by 202, and Governor Branstad’s Future Ready Iowa initiative, a statewide effort to build Iowa’s talent pipeline.
EDGE co-chairs Chris Littlefield, President and CEO of Fidelity & Guaranty Life, and Dr. David Wilkerson, Superintendent of the Waukee Community School District, lead the “75×25” campaign strategy focusing on improving education from Cradle through Career, an approach that includes Pre-K, elementary, secondary, and higher education as well as adult re-skilling. The ‘75×25’ campaign is a big part of this strategy, as it helps everyone in the region strive to hit a specific benchmark. This is another great example of regional cooperation and leadership from key Central Iowa stakeholders.