Central Iowa Works builds partnerships, implements new solutions, and advocates for changes to maximize talent in central Iowa’s workforce. We are tackling the employment gap in our community through several efforts:  


Healthcare IconHealth Care

Central Iowa HealthWorks was launched in 2017 to train and support 380 central Iowans seeking careers in health care. The project is funded by a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and convenes employer partners, educational institutions, and community-based organizations to provide free education, job training, and support to unemployed or underemployed adults.

“This project will strengthen our local economy as individuals receive the education and assistance they need to qualify for critical jobs.” – Elisabeth Buck, President, United Way of Central Iowa




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Retail and Service

The Retail Pathways project is studying challenges and opportunities for building career pathways in the retail and service sectors with a grant from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and The Walmart Foundation. A report released in June 2018 has led to regular convenings among retail and service industry employers and community stakeholders to implement action steps.

“As in any industry or region, the ability of local retail employers to effectively capitalize on changing economic realities and continue to successfully meet demand will depend, in large part, on their ability to effectively access a pipeline of quality talent.” – Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, Operations Director, Central Iowa Works




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Individuals with a Criminal Record

The CIRCA (Central Iowa Returning Citizens Achieve) project was launched in fall 2018 to provide intensive support to 188 people at higher risk for recommitting a crime when returning from prison. With a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the project will help individuals at four sites secure a job, receive personal development training, and address other barriers to re-entering our community.

“We know that having a job is essential for someone returning from prison to successfully re-enter our community. Supporting these individuals in securing a good job and working through barriers to re-entering is vital to central Iowa’s efforts to reduce crime and help all individuals thrive.” – Pat Steele, Director, Central Iowa Works




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Public Policy

Skills2Compete is a statewide coalition convened by Central Iowa Works to build policymaker support for growing Iowa’s economy by investing in its workforce. Members advocate for policies that increase opportunities for adult education and workforce training.