Iowa's green economy set to outpace national growth average

Iowa's green economy set to outpace national growth average

WorkingNation, a nonprofit that reports on the future of work, today began releasing "Green Jobs Now: Iowa" – multimedia reporting based upon original data that predicts a green jobs surge in a state that's already a pathsetter in the use of wind-generated power.

WorkingNation's reporting shows how continuing to upskill the workforce in green ways could drive additional economic growth as the federal government begins to deploy a $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment that should boost green jobs nationwide.

Iowa is particularly well-positioned. Its green economy has more than 13,000 workers, according to Emsi Burning Glass, which collected and analyzed original data for WorkingNation's multi-state Green Jobs Now project. What's more, Emsi Burning Glass projects that employment demand for green jobs in Iowa will increase over the next five years by 18.8%, far above the national average of 5.7%.


"Iowa's clean energy industry continues to expand across the state," Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, told WorkingNation in an interview. "We are ranked first in the country in terms of the amount of our electricity that is produced by clean power. Almost 58% of our electricity is from clean power, primarily wind turbine."

"Green Jobs Now: Iowa" identifies the state's most in-demand green skills - "renewable energy," "energy conservation," and "energy efficiency," according to the data - and occupations where green skills matter. It suggests certain workers could get annual salary boosts of perhaps $2,000 or more by applying green skills, with boosts upwards of $8,000 for some positions. That demonstrates the value to workers of learning green skills and to local employment economies of having training available. In Iowa, Emsi Burning Glass estimates almost 600,000 workers, if given access to training, could be reskilled into green jobs.

"Green Jobs Now: Iowa" is the latest state-focused installment of the WorkingNation/Emsi Burning Glass "Green Jobs Now" series, a data-driven journalism project to define and identify green jobs and skills, pinpoint where workers can find them, and present a vivid snapshot of the green economy. Prior installments examined green jobs in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Colorado, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, and nationally.

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