Our work at the statehouse this week has been spent on the last few major budget bills. Since I serve as vice-chairwoman of the Economic Development Budget subcommittee, I have been focused on House File 2460.
This bill funds small business development centers, entrepreneurial research, the arts, cultural and historical projects, workplace safety, and assistance for employers and workers. Highlights include:
n Boosting support for apprenticeships and job retraining programs at our community colleges. Apprenticeships are a great way to prepare Iowans for the workforce because they provide structured vocational skill training through on-the-job and classroom instruction.
n Increasing funding for Iowa’s 16 Small Business Development Centers, which conduct research, provide counseling and train Iowans in management, financing and operating a small business. They also offer affordable workshops on market research, cash flow projections, accounting, writing a business plan and much more.
n Investing in internships for Iowa students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year’s funding will be used to expand the Innovative Business Internship program, which places STEM students in internships with Iowa employers.
n Boosting incentives for businesses that locate and expand in Iowa when they commit to making a strong contribution to our economy and creating good jobs for residents.
n Funding for innovative programs at our state universities that spur economic growth when they work with communities and businesses on technology commercialization, marketing and entrepreneurship.
n Investing in the arts, cultural endeavors and historic preservation. These projects draw visitors to our communities and improve the quality of life for local Iowans.
n Financial assistance to help vulnerable Iowans stay in their own homes and remain a part of their communities, when they might otherwise be forced into expensive nursing homes.
This budget is important to strengthening Iowa’s middle class and generating economic activity in communities across the state.