Community Income Goal: To increase the percentage of central Iowans who are financially self-sufficient to 75% by 2020.
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, most recent 5-year estimates for Polk, Dallas, and Warren Counties (2013-2017)
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.
Since 2015, nearly 25,000 more central Iowans are financially self-sufficient.
The percentage of central Iowans who were financially self-sufficient increased to 67% in 2017, up 1.1% from the previous year and up 1.8% since 2015, according to the latest U.S. Census data released this December.
“Our efforts as a community are working,” said Elisabeth Buck, president of United Way of Central Iowa. “After a six-year downturn, the number of families who are thriving in Polk, Warren, and Dallas Counties is increasing, and that especially means more children are having their basic needs met and are having greater opportunities for healthy development.”
WHAT WE FIGHT FOR
ADULTS GAIN SKILLS FOR BETTER JOBS
55% of all jobs in central Iowa require education or training after high school up to an associate degree.
Only 32% of the workforce has the right skills for these jobs.
Iowa Workforce Development
INDIVIDUALS FACE FEWER BARRIERS TO THRIVE
of people convicted of a crime are not employed one year after release from prison.
National Institute of Justice
Largest average monthly costs for an Iowa family of four (2 adults, 1 infant, 1 preschooler):
- $1,035 child care
- $800 health care
- $659 housing
is the median household income for all of Polk County.
is the median household income for African-Americans in Polk County.
WHERE WE WIN
more central Iowans were financially self-sufficient in 2017 than two years before.
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey
individuals are receiving training or education for health care jobs, 100 more than projected, through United Way’s Central Iowa HealthWorks. Nearly 70% of individuals served represent minority populations.
income increase was achieved within 18 months by 614 adults who earned their high school equivalency diplomas through United Way’s Bridges to Success initiative.
Iowa Workforce Development
volunteers provided free tax preparation to 4,703 central Iowans through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in 2018. This program helps low-income central Iowans receive the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which can help lift people out of poverty.
In 2018, the Iowa Legislature repealed a law that revoked the driver’s licenses of people with non-driving drug offenses. United Way’s OpportUNITY initiative successfully advocated to remove this barrier for citizens returning from prison so they can find employment and housing.