Do you struggle to attract and retain talented workers? We can help!

Central Iowa Works, a workforce intermediary, partners with employers to:

  • Attract the best local talent
  • Find skilled employees you might otherwise have missed
  • Connect with industry experts

Our goal is to work with you to implement best practices that will open your doors to employees who are more likely to stay longer, work harder, and advance further into the organization.  

To speak with someone about solutions that could work for you, contact us here

What Central Iowans are Saying

“Luther Park recently became involved with Central Iowa Works, and we’ve been very pleased. We can tell employees have had different preparation and training for going into the workplace.  We look forward to receiving more candidates from the HealthWorks program.”

- Jay Willsher, CEO of Luther Park Community Services


“This program really helped me to complete something I would not have been able to without help because of what was going on in my life at that time. Although I am not currently working in my field because of school, I know thanks to the training I received I can find a job once I am ready.”

- Healthworks participant and CNA

The Top 5 Things You Can Do to Get Started:

1. Take a look at your talent practices. Maybe it’s been awhile since you last updated them, and there are changes or new ideas to consider. See the HR Policies section and the Best Practices section below for ideas.

2. Identify valuable resources in your community to connect with. These might include:Governmental workforce development
  • Nonprofits
  • Staffing companies
  • Human resources (HR) consultants
  • HR associations, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Industry associations
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Business associations
  • Underrepresented groups
  • Community colleges
  • Central Iowa Works

3. Join a workforce partnership in your industry. Meet on a monthly basis to discuss common workforce priorities and needs in the industry, which can lead to new training opportunities for workers. 
  • Construction
  • Health Care
  • Financial Services
  • Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL)
  • Retail


4. Find out who you’re missing.
 You’re likely overlooking or screening out qualified workers from underrepresented groups during your hiring process. Research indicates that these individuals are more likely to stay at your organization longer and more likely to get a promotion. Learn more about these workers here.
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Refugees and immigrants
  • Veterans
  • Minorities
  • Those with a criminal record
  • People who have been out of the workforce for a long time
  • People with limited work experience or education
  • Dislocated workers, who need training in another industry
  • Senior citizens, who return to the workforce to raise grandchildren

5. Partner with another organization who does it well.

Why It Matters


With low unemployment, employers are struggling find talent in central Iowa.

The workforce is aging, and more workers are nearing retirement.

You’ll get a high return on your investment.

Consumers look for ethical, reputable companies that live out their values.

Top 5 Policies for Your HR Handbook

1. Consider applicants with criminal records on a case-by-case basis. Remove the check box asking applicants if they have a criminal record from your job applications. Rather than performing background checks on applicants before job interviews, run them after the final interview or before an offer. This will allow you to decide whether you would like to extend an offer to an applicant you like despite a minor criminal incident they can explain.

2. Add this statement to your job postings: “Women, people with disabilities, and minorities are encouraged to apply.”

3. Emphasize experience over education, where appropriate. Review your education requirements and consider whether all your roles require the level of education you’ve posted, such as a four-year college degree, an associate degree, or even a high school diploma. Often, an individual with the skills or experience will do better in a job than someone with just the requisite education. They may even stay longer in the position.

4. Consider removing “can lift 50 pounds” from your job descriptions, where no longer needed, especially for office jobs. This requirement can screen out people with disabilities and women. 

5. Review your benefits to ensure that they match your employees’ needs. Would child care be more appreciated than a gym membership? See Best Practices below for ways to better listen to your employees. The most-desired employee benefits include:

  • Child care
  • Transportation
  • Health care
  • Retirement benefits

Best Practices for Employers

Listen to your talent.

  • Complete an annual survey of your entire workforce. Anonymous surveys are best.
  • Schedule regular check-ins between managers and team members.
  • Establish a worker advisory council.
  • Determine your employees’ top three needs.

Perform proactive outreach in underrepresented communities when hiring. Make sure they know about the position(s) and ask what barriers the job description may present.

Minority business associations

Disability associations

Senior citizens’ organizations

Nonprofit job developers

Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families

Create or review your onboarding process.

  • Write down a formal process.
  • Introduce new hires to key people within the first month to establish ongoing relationships.
  • Train new hires on internal practices and policies and essential technology.
  • If you decide on a mentoring or coaching program, establish a thoughtful, formal process.

Consider your approach to retention and career advancement.

  • Establish intentional goals for your organization.
  • Schedule regular meetings between each subordinate and their manager (every 2 weeks, at minimum).
  • Determine what skills employees need to build to advance in the organization—and how they could develop them.
  • Identify internal pipelines where other employees have advanced previously.
  • Set clear expectations about what it takes to advance to avoid bias and to give your talent achievable goals.

Train your managers well.

  • Remember that management requires 10% formal training, and 90% on-the-job learning.
  • Management training takes time; recruits can’t go through just one training and be ready.
  • Focus on social skills, such as communication and conflict-management. Keep it performance-oriented rather than repeating memorized information.
  • Teach managers how to work across difference, including race, culture, work style, and generation.
  • Focus training on your hiring practices.
  • Train managers on how to counter cognitive bias.

Learn About the Staffing Industry

The staffing industry provides job opportunities for more than 15 million employees a year in the United States. There are more than 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies nationwide, making it a $161 billion industry.

Staffing companies can help you find talent and provide flexibility. These are the services they can provide:

  • Handle the application and hiring process for a permanent employee
  • Employ temporary workers, including paying wages, withholding taxes, and providing benefits
  • Hire many employees at once at the direction of the client
  • Outsource an entire department or function, such as a call center or mail room
  • Manage a large number of employee terminations
  • Handle payroll, benefits, and other HR functions for the client
  • Bring a staffing company employee in-house to manage ongoing hiring needs

Staffing companies offer a few different types of jobs, including:

  • Temporary: A start- and end-date is set upfront, though these may change in the middle of the job.
  • Temp-to-perm or temp-to-hire: An employee begins in a temporary position hoping to prove themselves and be hired on permanently in the role or in another position.
  • Permanent (direct hire): The staffing company is acting only as the recruiter, and employees are hired directly by the client organization.

Staffing companies can provide benefits to your employees.

Staffing companies don’t create your personnel strategy; they only implement it. Before you contact a staffing company, ensure that you have a sound, long-term strategy guiding your decisions.