Ames EDC

Workforce Solutions – Talent Critical to Economic Development Success

June 29, 2016

A highly skilled workforce is paramount to the work that we do here at the Ames Economic Development Commission.  New and rapidly growing companies in Ames and Story County are constantly looking to pull from a pool of talent to meet their increasing workforce demands.  Having lots of job openings is good problem to have, but like any problem, we want to be proactive in working on a solution.

One of the ways we are working to ensure workforce needs are met and that talent is readily available is our Summer Intern Program. Now in its fourth year, we’ve been calling it the “See Yourself In Ames” Summer Intern Program because helping students and interns visualize themselves working, living and playing here in  Ames—not just as a student or intern here for a few years before moving on—is exactly what we aim to do through the program. 

Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) annually supply a large number of highly skilled individuals that are looking for opportunities to start their career after graduation.  Our hope is that by exposing these potential members of Ames’ workforce to our world-class companies (Renewable Energy Group, Workiva, HarrisVaccines, Barilla, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. to name just a few) they will realize their degree can be put to use in meaningful employment opportunities that are available in Ames.

We also hope to showcase the culture of Ames outside of campus life.  During a recent event, several interns that were participating in the program remarked that they’d never visited the diverse shopping and eating options on Main Street or didn’t know there was a Golf and Country Club simply because everything they needed was available on campus.  The program strives to showcase our businesses and cultural centers such as Main Street that perhaps students wouldn’t have a reason or a chance to experience otherwise.

Our Director of Workforce Solutions, Angie Dorenkamp, has done an incredible job putting together agendas for this summer’s program.  On May 25th, interns and their employers gathered at Ames Golf and Country club for a Business Etiquette Lesson and Style Show.  We learned the do’s and don’ts of business etiquette (such as how to properly introduce someone and that you should only hold a white wine glass by the stem but for a red wine glass, it’s acceptable to hold the bowl) from Certified Etiquette Instructor Callista Gould.  Moorman Clothiers and JC Penny put on a fun fashion show to explain the differences between business and business-casual attire.

On June 8th the group was lucky to tour the Bergstrom Football Complex and the Sukup End Zone Club before hearing from Jamie Pollard on the pillars of teamwork and leadership. 

Most recently we showcased the beauty of Reiman Gardens where Adam Carroll presented on his “social capital movement” to over 100 attendees and encouraged students to look within their own network for resources when looking to launch their career. 

There are still two events left in the series:  on July 13th we’re collaborating with the Iowa State Research Park for an adventure hunt that will help interns discover the innovative ideas and businesses that make up the park.  Teresa Lancaster will present on the keys of effective communication at the Vermeer Applied Technology Hub.  The finale of the series will be on July 20th at Workiva where Lawrence Cunningham will give a powerful presentation on the importance of personal branding, passion to follow your dreams, and the ability to never give up. He’ll also discuss the world of social media and how it can affect your personal brand.

If you’re interested in attending these events as an intern, employer or simply as an advocate for Ames, you can find more info at www.ameschamber.com or by calling us at 515-232-2310.

We’d be remiss not to mention our generous sponsors who have made this series possible.  Special thanks to Iowa State University Athletics Department, Renewable Energy Group, Kreg Tool, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Xpanxion, Kingland Systems, Global Reach Internet Productions, Gloval VetLink, Solum and Workiva.  We’re proud that you call Ames home and grateful that you’ve helped us showcase what a great place Ames is this summer.

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