Dubuque area business leaders have unveiled new online features to aid employers in connecting with needed workforce and attracting workers to the area.
Speakers stressed the importance of recruiting new people to the area at Greater Dubuque Development Corp.’s Workforce Solutions Breakfast on Thursday at the Diamond Jo Casino.
“Workforce is a challenge at any period in time, especially coming out of a pandemic,” said Rick Dickinson, president and CEO of GDDC, at the breakfast.
Data was also shared from GDDC’s annual “skills gap” analysis, conducted in partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College. The report covers Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties in Iowa, as well as Grant County in Wisconsin and Jo Daviess County in Illinois.
The analysis showed a projected decline in the area’s working-age population over a 10-year period, from 165,425 in 2021 to 154,081 in 2031.
Nic Hockenberry, a director of workforce solutions for GDDC, also shared that the Dubuque metro area is projected to have 2,894 fewer workers than jobs by 2031.
“We see the pace of jobs overtopping the working population,” Hockenberry said. “Our population is aging, and we’re not replacing it as fast as we used to.”
However, he also shared that the Dubuque metro area is on the second-fastest pace of all Iowa’s metro areas to recover from present worker shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, behind only Des Moines.
As part of the solution to recruit new workers to the area, Thursday’s breakfast also marked the official launch of updates on AccessDubuqueJobs.com, a job-search website operated by GDDC and the Telegraph Herald.
One new portal on the site is called “Work That Works,” aimed at connecting area college students with flexible, part-time jobs.
“Our colleges want to address their students’ need to work without it affecting their schooling,” Hockenberry said.
Mandi Dolson, also a GDDC director of workforce solutions, added that the site’s functionality was improved, including better accessibility on mobile devices.
Three new local access sites were also launched: AccessDyersvilleJobs, AccessCascadeJobs and AccessPeostaJobs. Each local access site links back to the Dubuque site but provides focus for workers looking for jobs in a specific community. Dolson said more local sites will be added in the future.
Dolson added that a “No Experience Required” portal was created for employers who are posting jobs at which they are either willing to train people or jobs that don’t require previous background.
Dickinson said the updated site is part of the solution to current workforce recruitment challenges and encouraged everyone to take part.
“Every penny that goes into AccessDubuqueJobs as an investment goes back into the community,” he said. “If you’re not part of this, you’re not part of the solution.”