Ragan Report

Economic plan invests in Iowans, jobs, and communities

In the final weeks of the 2014 session, we continue our work to strengthen Iowa's middle class and generate economic activity in communities across the state.

HF 2460, the Economic Development Budget, is a large part of that effort. House File 2460 funds small business development centers, entrepreneurial research, the arts, cultural and historical projects, workplace safety, and assistance for employers and workers. Highlights include:

• 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.

• Increasing funding for Iowa’s 16 Small Business Development Centers, one of which is located in Mason City. They conduct research, provide counseling and train Iowans in management, financing and operating a small business.

• 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.

• 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.

• Funding for innovative programs at our state universities that spur economic growth by working with communities and businesses on technology commercialization, marketing and entrepreneurship.

• 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.

• Financial assistance to help vulnerable Iowans stay in their own homes and remain part of their communities.

Additional information

This is a legislative column by Senator Amanda Ragan, representing Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/ragan.

To contact Senator Ragan during the week, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise she can be reached at home at 641-424-0874. E-mail her at amanda.ragan@legis.iowa.gov.

Senator Ragan is an Assistant Senate Majority Leader, chair of the Human Resources Committee and vice-chair of the Health & Human Services Budget Subcommittee. She also serves on the Appropriations, Natural Resources & Environment, Rules & Administration and Veterans Affairs committees.