Business Expansion and Strategic Trends (BEST of Iowa) issued their Annual Report this month. The program aggregates data from 850 Iowa companies that were surveyed in 2019. Marion Economic Development Corporation interviewed more than a dozen companies who contributed to the statewide findings.
Companies interviewed represented 66 counties and 165 communities. The findings generally addressed expansion plans, stage of company growth, and workforce issues.
- 375 companies (44%) indicated plans to expand their business. Of that number, 153 companies had no room to expand in their current location.
- 49% of companies interviewed rated the availability of workforce in their areas as low.
- 74% of companies stated they were experiencing workforce recruitment problems.
- The companies interviewed reported having 4,799 unfilled positions.
- Workforce related issues were the most frequently identified barriers to growth for their communities.
Based on the on the results, the following issues were identified as critical for economic growth and development to move Iowa forward:
- Workforce: must be enhanced and grown
- Sites, buildings and infrastructure: enhancement of community assets must be supported statewide
- Innovation: continue to be encouraged and supported for all Iowa companies
- Market and industry: economic development policies and practices must be timely and remain proactive to support Iowa businesses competing in a rapidly changing marketplace
- Adverse legislation and public policy: public policies and regulations are adversely affecting many Iowa companies
MEDCO strives to strategically approach all items listed above through regional partnerships, workforce programs, continually updating available commercial and industrial buildings and sites, developing the Marion Enterprise Center, working hand in hand with the City of Marion and proactively engaging in many public policy discussions.
BEST is a collaboration between Iowa utility companies, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and local Economic Development organizations. For the full Summary reference the Best 2019 Executive Summary Report.