State Workforce

Workforce Development Tops Iowa Restaurant Association Agenda

The Iowa Restaurant Association Board of Directors elected its 2020 officers and determined Workforce Development will be the group’s top priority for the coming year. This means the Association’s legislative, educational, and promotional efforts will focus on enhancing the workforce pool for Iowa’s hospitality industry. 

Record Low Unemployment Fuels Needs

The emphasis on increasing interest in hospitality as a career of choice among potential workers has never been more imperative. Iowa’s unemployment rate has been hovering around 2.5% — meaning the state has the lowest, or near lowest, unemployment rate in the nation. Couple this with the projected net growth of 1,000+ hospitality jobs per year, every year for the next decade, and the need for workers becomes the number one inhibitor to business growth.

Attracting Young Talent

The Association will take a multi-pronged approach to combat the workforce shortage. First, they will partner with the IRA Education Foundation to attract more young people to a hospitality career track through its ProStart High School program. The Board of Directors also authorized the Association to join the efforts of other organizations recruiting to students to consider technical trades by participating in events such as the 2020 Build My Future Event.

Recruiting Re-entry Population

The Association will also continue to work with the state to help individuals re-entering the workforce after incarceration to land liveable wage positions within the restaurant industry. The Association has been teaching ServSafe, ServSafe Alcohol and Customer Service in the prisons as part of a Federal Grant. The restaurant industry is 2 ½ times more likely to hire people re-entering the workforce than any other industry. These efforts will continue into the coming year.

“The restaurant industry has always been the industry of first opportunities and second chances. –Jessica Dunker, Iowa Restaurant Association

Watch the IRA Social Media pages for more workforce related information and ways you can engage!