Posted on 11/15/2016 at 02:37 PM by Liz Determan

In the first quarter of 2016, Iowa’s Workforce Development provides insight into which career pathways have the greatest number of employees and what the average weekly wages are in our state.  There can be significant differences in employment opportunities and salary depending on the location, region, or state a person is employed. As part of the Career Information System recommended being in place as part of the career exploration and guidance for the 8th-12th grade academic and career plan.  The first quarter report shows an average of almost 213,500 individuals employed in Manufacturing with average weekly earnings of $1,033.00.  It is second only to Health Care and Social Assistance at 219,644 individuals employed with average weekly earnings of $787.00.  Providing our students with a clear understanding of the employment opportunities that are available may help them to clarify their thinking and consideration about education and training they may want to pursue following graduation from high school.

Income varies greatly from one career pathway to another.  Looking at the average weekly earnings is one place students can start to consider their areas of interest for future employment and career opportunities.  Being aware of the potential income a person can earn is an important aspect to consider when making plans for future college and career choices.  Counselors and teachers want to make certain that students are moving towards a living wage and using their talents and abilities in a way that benefits the individual and the community they live in.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for millennials (born between 1981-2000) and Generation Z (those born after 2001) to live independently due to the rising cost of living.  There is definitely a gap that exists between the average weekly salaries and the cost of living.  Many college graduates are returning home while either searching for their first career job or while they are in transition between one job and another.  Transitions are becoming more and more common in the workforce with weaker and/or non-existent career ladders in every area except service industries.  As student become more familiar with Iowa’s employment needs and areas for growth, the future of Iowa and the possibility of students staying in the state as adults becomes greater.  Iowa needs their graduates to stay in Iowa or return to Iowa following their postsecondary training to work, live and grow their family.

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