Community Income Goal: To increase the percentage of central Iowans who are financially self-sufficient to 75% by 2020. 

One out of every three families in central Iowa can barely cover basic daily expenses. And low wages force many families to go without—or to go into debt. In today's economy, families need enough income to cover rising costs of food, housing, health care, transportation, childcare and clothing—or face painful financial choices.

One of the clearest paths to economic self-sufficiency is education and training. Job training and readiness programs remain critical to advancing low-wage, low-skilled workers into self-sustaining jobs (UW Metrics report, p. 24). United Way and its community partners work to strengthen central Iowans' education and skills to prepare them for the better-paying jobs in the local economy.


View-Scorecard.pngResults Scorecard is a tool used to measure progress toward goals and strategies. Click the scorecard icons to see specific measures.

Income Focus Area


Income Progress

Who is ALICE?

With the cost of living higher than what most wages pay, ALICE families – an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – work hard and earn above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but not enough to afford a basic household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care. ALICE households live in every county in Iowa – urban, suburban, and rural – and they include women and men, young and old, of all races and ethnicities.

The study and report reveal key statistics around Iowans in need, including detailed analysis by county. Click the image of the report to access the Executive Summary or the full report.


Example Income Programs

Bridges-To-Success-Logo.pngBridges to Success is helping 10,000 central Iowans achieve a high school equivalency diploma (HSED) by the end of 2020. Bridges’ innovative approaches, including supportive coaches who help students overcome barriers and free test-prep classes, lead individuals onto a sustainable career pathway.

OpportUNITY_logo_large.pngOpportUNITY: Creating Prosperity for All is a community-driven approach to reduce poverty in central Iowa by 20 percent by focusing on:

  • Education and employment readiness
  • Housing, homelessness and transportation
  • System and policy changes for new Iowans and those facing the child care cliff effect
  • Food insecurity

Learn More About OpportUNITY

Skills2Compete_Logo.pngSkills2Compete is a coalition serving as a voice for adult education and workforce advocacy that helps increase financial stability for working families to grow Iowa’s economy.

Skills2Compete is a coalition serving as a voice for adult education and workforce advocacy that helps increase financial stability for working families to grow Iowa’s economy. 

Learn More About Central Iowa Works