Diversity & Perceptions are KEY to Growing Population

posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 in Economic Development

Diversity One major factor contributing to Iowa's Workforce Shortage

All data and information from Iowa Economic Development Authority

WORKFORCE was the headliner in Iowa Economic Development and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham's presentation on Tuesday morning. It comes as no surprise to many, if not all, Cedar Valley businesses that questions such as, "How do I find workers to fill our positions?" is a real and consistent issue plaguing the future of our businesses. What may surprise you is that workforce issues are not only a Cedar Valley concern but a State of Iowa concern. Durham illustrated this point well with the statistic that Iowa has more than 60,000 job openings and only 42,800 unemployed people. (Source: Iowa Workforce Development)

Director Durham emphasized that the biggest factor contributing to Iowa's workforce shortage is population. She identified two main elements that contribute to the stagnant growth of Iowa's population...diversity and perception. 


  • It is not only a reality, but a necessity.”
  • Immigrants comprised 44% of Iowa’s population grow from 2010 to 2018. (Source: Census)
  • 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day. (Source: CNBC)
  • Minority-owned small businesses are 40% more likely to hire and increase investment in the next year than their non-minority counterparts. (Source: MetLife & U.S. Chamber)
  • Communities will start to grow when they embrace the diversity in their own towns and communities.


  • Traveling to a location is the first step in thinking about moving to a new city.
    • Two-thirds of people say they have seriously considered moving to a new place after visiting. Signifying the importance of tourism.
  • Travel will increase interest, but job opportunities will motivate.
    • Top three factors in motivating individuals to move (in this order) are job opportunities, low housing costs, and low crime rate.
    • People are seeking jobs in locations that shows economic vitality – suggesting they will be part healthy economy for years to come.

Director Durham went on to share several of the initiatives the State of Iowa is undertaking to address these issues. She also acknowledged that change needs to happen at a local level.  At Grow Cedar Valley, we are committed to addressing the workforce shortage. One approach is through our Economic Inclusion initiative, which promotes and teaches best practices for employment inclusion.  And our Live the Valley initiative promotes the job opportunities and the multitude of recreational activities we enjoy in the Cedar Valley. If you are interested in learning more about these initiatives, please contact Director of Talent Development, Will Frost, or Digital Marketing Specialist - Live the Valley, Aaron Jarnagin.