MASON CITY, Iowa - North Iowa community leaders are mapping out plans to enhance growth.
The Iowa Business Council hosted a 'Vision to Vitality' forum at NIACC Monday, with panelists from the Mason City Police Department, Mason City Schools, the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation, and the Avance Alliance, business leaders and residents sharing ways and initiatives on how to attract and retain residents, create a career ready workforce by supporting plans like Future Ready Iowa, and increase diversity in the state.
Le Anne Clausen De Montes is the Director of the North Iowa Children's Discovery Center. She's concerned about a shortage of affordable housing, which was one of the topics discussed at the forum.
"What I'm seeing is that when families who are in subsidized housing that are making that next step up economically, it's very difficult to find housing. Either they're not quite ready to take on the traditional mortgage, or even a program like Habitat. At the same time, there's not a great rental option."
In addition, she adds that more diversity would be a plus, as it would strengthen the state.
"I think North Iowa has grown in diversity from when I was growing up. I still think we have a long way to go, but I am encouraged that our need for more labor could result in inviting more workers from places around the nation, maybe around the globe. That's what I would like to see."
Presented during the forum was the Council's "Competitive Dashboard", which was released in January. You can read the report here.