DES MOINES, Iowa--Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds announced at their Monday morning press conference that they will host the Governor’s 2016 Future Ready Iowa Summit on Tuesday, April 19, at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. The purpose of the summit is to create a statewide conversation about how to close the skills gap, one of the biggest challenges Iowa faces. It’s critical to build on efforts already underway to assure that students and workers have the career opportunities they deserve, and businesses and industries can hire the skilled employees they need. The all-day summit is open to the public, with space for about 1,000 people. Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hope to attract a broad cross section of Iowans, including business owners, labor and nonprofit leaders; educators, students and parents; and state and local policy makers.
“Lt. Governor Reynolds and I travel to all 99 counties each year, and employers regularly tell us that it’s hard to find enough workers with the right skills,” said Branstad. “Job creation continues to be a top priority, but we also have to be sure Iowans have the skills needed to fill those jobs.”
“It is particularly important that we focus on science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – skills,” said Reynolds, who is co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “STEM careers are among the fastest-growing and best-paying, and demand for STEM skills crosses many sectors: agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, finance and insurance, and biosciences.”
The keynote speaker for the summit is Andreas Schleicher, a global expert on education and skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Other featured speakers include Jamie Merisotis, president of the Lumina Foundation, Mary Andringa, chair of the board of Vermeer Corp., and Byron Auguste, co-founder of Opportunity@Work. Students, educators, business owners and entrepreneurs from across the state and nation are among other speakers and panelists. An audience question and answer discussion will wrap up each session.
To learn more about the summit, or to register, go to: https://futurereadyiowa.gov. The website, conference registration and mobile agenda app was developed in partnership with Iowa Interactive, LLC, of Des Moines. The Governor’s office and Iowa Interactive operate under a self-funded model in which no additional tax dollars were used to develop or maintain the website.
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