MASON CITY, Iowa - The issue of retaining employees and revitalizing rural areas of Iowa and across the country are catching the attention of policy makers.
J.D. Scholten, who ran against Steve King last year for Iowa's 4th Congressional District and is planning to run to run again in the next election, was joined by California Congressman Ro Khanna for a 'rural tech forum' in Mason City Saturday morning. The two listened discussed and shared ideas on how to accomplish that goal, and also received feedback from the audience. Ideas discussed include the creation of higher wage technology-based jobs and hubs, expanding rural broadband access, and bridging the rural-urban divide, among others.
Scholten is observing the work Iowa State University is doing with precision farming and the technology usage that goes into it, and is bringing their work as an example in the vision he would like to see for the Hawkeye State.
"It's going to lead to better jobs, better crops, better yields, and more money in the pockets of farmers, and I'm all for it."
Khanna, who is campaigning for Scholten, believes he has what it takes to retain employees in Iowa, as he's seen it firsthand.
"J.D. mentioned that one of Iowa's biggest exports, unfortunately, has been their children. Kids shouldn't have to leave to get good opportunities. We need to bring those opportunities here, and I believe J.D. has a plan for that."
Khanna also applauded the efforts Des Moines Area Community College is doing, partnering with Facebook and other companies to develop courses in digital marketing, software engineering and similar fields that can lead to jobs with an average salary of $60,000-$70,000/year.