2019: A Year for Partnership and Growth

January 11, 2019 | A new slate Jessi Steward, Director, Programs, ABI Foundation, jsteward@iowaabi.org

2018 was a year of great strides in the discussion on workforce. Our state is working our way toward a plethora of solutions to rising needs and emerging skill gaps. We are developing our young people to be ready for the ever-changing workplace. We are bringing business, industry, education and community all to one table to discuss and begin to solve issues.

So what’s the next move for workforce in 2019? If we want to keep up the momentum on providing quality workplace training for our students, and show them that they can and should put that experience to good use here in Iowa, then we’ve got to start these collective efforts early.

At the end of their week at Business Horizons, we ask our high school participants what it means to them to know that Iowa companies have donated funds and/or time to enable their Business Horizons experience. Here are few of their responses from 2018:

“It means a lot that they want to see the next generation change the world to make it a better place.” – Jaycie Gordon, Fort Madison

“It means that my peers and I are the future to those companies.” – Evan Paine, Clive

“It means that there is real potential for me in Iowa.” – Landon Wahe, Bondurant

“It was a revelation to me, just how much everyone cares about tomorrow’s leaders and how important we are. I realized what I need to be doing and the work I need to put in moving forward.” – Sean Wilson-Bynoe, Fairfield

“It makes me feel needed and empowered to do my best for the future.” – Kate Landhuis, Clarinda

“It means that they believe in the students of Iowa.” – Cole Bisbee, Pella

These students, 15-18 years old, recognize the efforts organizations are putting forth to support them. They are smart, talented and looking for reasons to be “brand-loyal” to an Iowa company that they can work for in the future. Why not start cultivating that relationship early?

At the ABI Foundation, we are doing our part to spread the word about Iowa opportunities and connect education and industry through our Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa University (college) programs. Here are a few ways you and your company can use our programs as your first access point to future workers right now:

  1. Offer these opportunities to your employees. Holistic support creates long-term employees and legacy adds to influence. Show your support of your employees and their families by reminding them of these opportunities and/or supporting their children should they choose to participate.
  2. Select and support a student at your local high school for Business Horizons. $325 covers a student’s participation fee for Business Horizons. What amounts to much more is the partnership created between your company and high school staff when you work together to identify that student—and you’ve created some lifelong fans.
  3. Nominate your intern(s) to participate in Leadership Iowa University. Not only are you showing your support and confidence in that student as a representative of your company, but you are helping to strengthen your relationship. Companies can provide financial assistance to students who take part in the program as well.

Applications and nominations for Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa University are available online now. Visit the websites below or contact Jessi Steward (jsteward@iowaabi.org, 515-235-0570) for more information on any of these opportunities:

  • Business Horizons 2019: July 14-18 at Central College – www.BusinessHorizonsIowa.com
  • Leadership Iowa University 2019: August 4-8 in Des Moines – www.LeadershipIowaUniversity.com