We partner with local businesses on strategies for building a diverse and engaged workforce.

Central Iowa companies often note that hiring and retaining good employees is a challenge. This Central Iowa Works’ initiative offers creative and effective solutions that meet your unique needs, as well as your employees' needs, to create a thriving community. 

Benefits of partnering with us:

  • Increase diversity among job candidates.
  • Receive research on effective workforce strategies.
  • Access professional development opportunities for your employees.
  • Receive individualized support with implementing the right strategies for you and your employees.
  • Create a culture of belonging and engagement in the work.
  • Build stronger connections in the community.


Get started with these options:

Need to hire?

Send your job posting to us and we’ll share it with our network of more than 150 people who support skilled job candidates facing systemic barriers to employment.

Contact us

Looking for ideas?

Explore our Employer Guide to identify strategies in six areas that can boost hiring and retention. This guide is regularly updated with new resources.

View the guide

Eager to collaborate?

Join an industry-specific employer groups to discuss common challenges and find solutions to meet your workforce needs. We can also connect you with employers implementing specific strategies.

Contact us


Through a grant with The National Fund, Central Iowa Works can partner with small- and medium-sized businesses in central Iowa to implement Thriving Workforce strategies. This opportunity may be available if you:

  • Have less than 200 employees
  • Have local decision-making power
  • Are minority- or woman-owned business and/or have employees who are mostly among minority populations.

Contact us to learn more.

If we can partner, an experienced business consultant will meet with you to learn about your business and to administer a survey to your leadership team and your employees. This survey will identify which workforce strategies to focus on. We then work with you to find, implement, and evaluate new ideas as you determine which strategies work best.

Employers are implementing changes like these:

  • Creating a middle-manager position to offer a career growth opportunity and to alleviate pressure on top-level positions
  • Adjusting schedules to meet employees’ needs
  • Developing an employee incentive program
  • Adding supports for employees who are immigrants or refugees

Find ideas you can implement in our Employer Guide

Training for employees:

In addition to consulting, we offer these learning opportunities to support employees’ professional development:

  • Breakthrough Leadership: Offered through Dale Carnegie, this training is for individuals whom employers identify as ready for leadership positions. The course will build skills to take on supervisor roles.

  • Leadership Training: Individuals who are ready to move into leadership positions can take this course through Dale Carnegie to gain confidence in speaking up and leading teams. This course is especially designed for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and other individuals from historically marginalized communities.

  • Simulations: We offer groups a chance to experience what it is like to live in poverty or to return from prison to the community. These simulations are good opportunities for managers and leaders to better understand and empathize with diverse individuals they may work with.

  • Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Opportunities: Central Iowa Works is developing unique training opportunities for individuals to learn about service-industry jobs and to grow their skills to move into higher-level positions within the industry.

Informing our work

Our work has been shaped over two years and was informed by this report: Preparing for Partnership: An Analysis of the Retail Industry in Central Iowa, conducted by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning in 2018. 

The report notes the following findings: 

  • Employers need employees with soft-skills and professionalism for their front-line workforce.
  • Limited internal career pathways and formal on-the-job training methods exist.
  • Hiring processes, scheduling, compensation, child care, and transportation to and from work are key factors in filling positions and retaining workers.
  • Many workforce issues could be addressed in partnership to have greater impact on the issues individual employers face.