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As Iowa's employers compete for talent in a state with consistently low unemployment, could immigration be a solution?
Going forward, researchers predict workforce challenges will become even more pronounced: As nearly a quarter of Iowans in the workforce approach retirement age and many younger Iowans pursue higher education or move out of state, Liesl Eathington, assistant scientist in the department of economics at Iowa State University, predicted that Iowa could face a shortage of 35,000 workers 10 years from now.
Meanwhile, immigration accounts for 40 percent of Iowa's population growth since 2010, she said.
'The obvious answer is international in-migration. We're not currently doing a great job of domestic migration," Eathington said.
"It's not a question of do we need international in-migrants for our labor force, it's how many.'
At Iowa Ideas 2017, September 20-22 in Cedar Rapids, panelists discussed the roles immigrants play in Iowa's current and future workforce.
Peter Fisher, research director of the Iowa Policy Project
Lori Chesser, immigration department chair at Davis Brown Law Firm
Nancy Mwirotsi, founder of Pi515
Liesl Eathington, assistant scientist in the department of economics at Iowa State University
Moderator: Makayla Tendall, The Gazette enterprise and in-depth reporter
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Listen to the full replay to hear:
How the demographics of Iowa's immigrant population differs from Iowa's native-born population
The link between immigration and entrepreneurship and new business creation
Support needed for immigrants and refugees already living in Iowa - and how employers can play a role
Why immigrants could play a role in the future of rural Iowa
Or, read the full story based on this panel: Immigrants propping up Iowa population growth