The Advanced Manufacturing Sector Board held its initial meeting in October of 2013.
It identified two major priority areas: Talent/Recruiting and Infrastructure.
The board voiced serious concern over the need for skilled workers and the need to attract and retain workers. The key to addressing this need will be creating more awareness about modern manufacturing to potential workers.
The board recognized that it needs to play a major role in reaching out to schools (secondary and post-secondary), and expanding their current connections with education. Additional recruiting, financial backing in the form of scholarships and potential job offers to trainees, a more diverse recruiting base, immigration reform, and more utilization of Eastern Iowa Community College’s Blong Technology Center were identified as possible ways to ramp up efforts to develop a stronger manufacturing workforce.
The board also recognized the need to work internally to develop cross-training, develop leadership skills, and capitalize on mentoring programs.
The board noted that travel into and out of the Quad Cities can be difficult. They also recognized a need for a transit shipping process, ensuring that manufacturers have an ample energy supply through Mid-American, and better usage of the available broadband.
In response, EICC has provided a document outlining programs and directives to assist with the training of new and existing workers; provided information regarding the college’s Engineering Tech programs; provided information regarding the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Hub; and developed an Advanced Manufacturing Event that took place in October 2014 to highlight area manufacturing opportunities. The event reached nearly 1,000 youth in the region.