Provide young people and workers with the skills and competencies to contribute to the economy and community.
Beginning in school, we must prepare our current and future workers with the skills necessary to find good jobs. Education is the key to providing economic opportunity for everyone who calls the Quad Cities home. We must prepare young people for the jobs of the future as well as retrain workers in industries that are shrinking to take the jobs in industries that are growing. Businesses move and grow where there are qualified, educated workers.
The work of Q2030 recognizes that we must bridge the gap between what our children are learning and what they need to learn to succeed in the world. Importantly, the very notion of talent development itself must be broadened from just education and training programs to a complex web of systems involving diversity and inclusion practices, leadership development, resident health and wellness, internal and external talent marketing and others.
Cradle Through Career Development
The best way to formalize and manage a talent-development pipeline is through the creation of comprehensive, all-inclusive coalitions of public and private partners working together to foster positive student outcomes. As the name implies, our C2C coalition will feature a strong focus on early childhood health and learning and extending beyond a cradle-to-career pipeline into the field of adult education and retraining/up-skilling programs.
1. Optimize school readiness for the Quad Cities’ pre-school population ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable early childhood education programs: Support will be provided to ensure that all regional children enter kindergarten eager and prepared to learn. Parents will be aware of the programs available to them and utilize them fully in the support of their children’s early development.
2. Ensure regional students will meet or exceed established performance metrics throughout elementary school: A suite of support programs will prepare grade students in elementary school to excel in all aspects of learning. They will perform at or above measures corresponding to competencies needed to successfully advance in school.
3. Position all regional students to graduate high school interested and prepared for college and careers: Regional graduation rates will reflect a philosophy that “no child gets left behind.” Students will leave high school primed for success in their next chosen path, whether it is two- or four-year colleges or universities or a high-value career.
4. Support and retain local talent and increase degree-attainment through effective higher education, training and job-placement programs: Graduates from high school and college in the Quad Cities will be informed of and connected to opportunities to start and sustain their careers in the region. Skilled talent will know they are wanted in the Quad Cities and have a future in the region.
5. Dramatically increase the number of residents with post-secondary certifications and degrees by successfully accommodating Quad Cities adults interested in entering or re-entering the workforce, up-skilling in their existing jobs or changing careers: Regional adults at all ages and life stages will be supported in their ambitions to obtain quality employment. Employers seeking assistance in providing additional skills for incumbent workers will be familiar with and increase the utilization of, options available to them.
21st Century Workforce
The Quad Cities will be competitive by meeting and exceeding the needs and ambitions of companies and industries that are starting, expanding and relocating in the region.
1. Encourage partnerships between schools, community colleges, universities and policy entities to formalize career training pipelines: With shortages in key occupational categories, a growing segment of under-skilled and under-employed workers, and greater numbers of economically disadvantaged students, much work must continue to be done to maintain the Quad Cities “human capital.”
2. Enhance efforts to optimize data collection and assessment protocols to inform common curricula and program development for the region: Forecasting where the jobs will be and what education and training is in highest demand will identify opportunities to build career pathways for current workers and students in the regional talent pipeline.
3. Better leverage existing employers to retain and attract talent by increasing employers’ awareness and utilization of internship programs.
4. Align and expand workforce training and job placement efforts.
Welcoming and Inclusive
We must create a welcoming community in which all people are embraced, have an equal opportunity for success and know that their differences are the foundation for the region’s successes.
Regions cannot be successful in attracting talent or new jobs if there are disparities in tolerance and economic condition. Right now, the Quad Cities has too big a gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” While fostering a community culture that is welcoming and inclusive is important to the retention of new residents, it is also vital to ensuring existing residents of all races, ethnicities, ages, political affiliations, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations and viewpoints feel engaged and embedded in the community.
1. Accept and celebrate new migrants to the Quad Cities from all points of origin
- New residents to the Quad Cities will know they are wanted and appreciated. Formal and informal efforts to develop goodwill among new migrants will serve as starting points for relationship-building and incorporation of new talent into the life of the region.
- Immigrant and refugee populations relocating to the Quad Cities will be welcomed and assimilated into local life through purposeful outreach and inclusion. The Quad Cities will become known as region friendly to international migrants, which will create a pipeline of foreign talent into the community. More broadly, efforts to welcome newcomers to the Quad Cities regardless of where they are from will be implemented to ensure they become engaged in and committed to their new home.
2. Incorporate principles and practices of inclusion into the community fabric of the Quad Cities: Respecting and reflecting diversity of all peoples will become second nature in the Quad Cities. Community dialogue between different constituencies will be open and honest and always pursued constructively to achieve solutions to issues rather than perpetuate distrust and disagreement.
Talent Marketing and Attraction
Decisions to remain in or leave a particular geographic area are driven by many factors, including market potential, political and policy considerations, overall geographic appeal and surrounding supports. The bottom line is that geography matters greatly. Findings show that the vibrancy of a city as well as civic engagement are of significant importance regardless of age.
1. Create opportunities for civic involvement: Connect young adults with internships, survey for their opinion, communicate development plans and promote a young adult lifestyle that will improve the chances of reversing net migration trends and supplementing local talent with newly relocated residents.
2. Seek the opinions and engagement of young Quad Citizens.
3. Design and implement an external talent attraction marketing program to improve the awareness of the Quad Cities as a competitive destination for talent: The Quad Cities will become known beyond its borders as a modern, dynamic, diverse, interesting, quirky, family-friendly, attractive and compelling region to attend college, live, work and play. In-migration of skilled talent will raise regional levels of educational attainment, support the growth of local knowledge businesses and attract new and different types of destination retail establishments.
Communities become successful because of the capacity of their public and private leadership. The full diversity of local residents should be solicited for engagement in leadership programs at multiple stages of personal and professional development. Established professionals should be available as mentors or coaches for aspiring leaders, sharing their experiences and wisdom on the most effective ways to advance their careers, serve their community, balance work and life responsibilities and network effectively. Elected and appointed representatives of local governments and regional organizations should reflect the community’s
diversity, attitudes and commitment to shared goals.
1. Provide the tools necessary to identify, develop and sustain public and private leadership in the Quad Cities: Though to some extent the capacity to lead is an inherited trait, the ability to lead is still largely a learned capacity. The Quad Cities will support and create effective programming to ensure that leadership development in the region is successful and sustained. Critical to the programming will be the understanding and leadership of the shared guiding principles and goals for the region.
2. Increase the understanding of critical issues facing our region for current and aspiring local leaders.
3. Ensure the Quad Cities’ public and private leadership networks reflect the diversity of its citizenry: The Quad Cities will effectively engage and leverage its next-generation leadership. Building from a strong base of all races, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, coordinated efforts will ensure the voice, perspectives and passions of young leaders are fostered, respected and reflected in public decision-making.
A healthier Quad Cities would not only support employers but also make the community a more attractive place to live and work. Continuing education on physical and mental health issues and programs will help residents understand their risks as well as opportunities to make healthier life choices and contribute fully to their families, businesses and employers.
1. Improve the health and wellness of Quad Cities residents and workers: The Quad Cities will provide the support capacity necessary to ensure that residents of all ages are aware and utilizing health and wellness programs and information through multiple access points.
2. Seek to make the Quad Cities a hunger-free community: While many regions in the country talk about “ending hunger,” the Quad Cities will make tremendous strides towards this goal by collaboratively developing and implementing a coordinated set of hunger-reduction strategies. No adult will be limited in accessing education, training or employment because of hunger-related issues.