The state of Iowa continues to maintain its low unemployment rate after sharing the top spot with Hawaii back in December. Iowa’s November unemployment rate was at 2.4% and it has hovered around the same level ever since. In some cities like Idaho and Iowa City, the unemployment rate broke the sub-2% level around the same time.
Maintaining a low unemployment rate, however, is more than just about keeping the market thriving. While businesses are expanding – and new ones are entering the market – the majority of businesses are in the same industry or market category. To continue scoring a lower unemployment rate than the national average, changes are being made outside the market.
One of those changes is the push for a more diverse workforce. The state of Iowa now works on forecasting workforce needs and helping the future workforce – including those looking for ways to boost their career – decide on the right education to acquire. This initiative takes unemployment management to the next level.
Challenges in A Thriving Market
A thriving market is always a good sign. Low unemployment means a healthy spending level across the entire market, allowing businesses to benefit from the compounding effect. At the same time, the high utilization of the workforce means businesses are creating a more sustainable market environment for themselves.
The low unemployment rate is not without its challenges. In some industries, skilled workers and experienced specialists are still rare, and that scarcity prevents businesses in those industries from expanding further.
The scarcity is not caused by lack of workforce, but rather lack of relevant skills for specific industries. Healthcare, the fastest growing industry on the market, is now showing signs of workforce throttling; there is simply too high a demand for healthcare specialists and not enough supply to meet that demand.
Predicting Future Needs
Unfortunately, these challenges are not easy to overcome, especially since it takes several years to prepare a new generation of workers for the specific industries they want to enter. Even with reputable universities such as Baylor University opening up their online programs, it is difficult to keep up with high demand for skilled workers after a certain threshold.
The only way forward is by anticipating future demands; demands that will materialize in three to 10 years’ time. Fortunately, thanks to big data and improved data analysis, such forecasts are more accessible than ever.
That is what the state government, with the support of city officials, is now doing. In order to help future workers decide on the best majors to study as they begin pursuing their degrees, forecasts are being made available to more students and professionals. By predicting future employment needs, it will also be possible to close the gap between demand and supply.
Healthcare Leading the Charge
The latest prediction is not surprising; the healthcare industry will continue to be one of the fastest growing industries going forward. This simple forecast acts as an added incentive for those who are considering a career in healthcare, particularly those who are training to be registered nurses.
The same forecast is handy for healthcare professionals who want to advance their careers. The Iowa Workforce Development page contains details that will help professionals decide on the next move to take in order to push their careers forward.
From the data, we can see that homecare specialist and family nurse practitioner are the two most appealing roles to fill in the future. Based on data from previous years, the growth of demand for these professionals is holding steady at around 1.4% annually – this is a growth level higher than the industry average.
Education for All
Universities are responding to the initiative by aligning their programs to market needs. On top of that, online programs are now tailored to meet industry needs of the future. Using family nurse practitioner as an example, you can now pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice with the help of an online family nurse practitioner program.
The program is designed from the ground up to prepare students for the challenges of this role in the healthcare industry. In fact, the program is targeted for practicing RNs who want to provide care for individuals, families, and communities around them.
The aforementioned Baylor University is one of the leading schools in this field. The availability of online programs from Baylor means students don’t have to relocate to Texas in order to earn the degree that will help them in their careers. Expect to see more students actively opting for online courses and acquiring the degrees – and the skills – they need to succeed in the future.