As Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg toured Manning on Thursday morning, he talked about a focus on rural Iowa and said he wanted to learn more from the people of Manning on the innovative ways they are working to keep the community of over 1,400 vibrant. One of the key indicators to a rural community’s success is when younger people choose to return home or move there to raise their families. This is occurring with some frequency in Manning, and Gregg was interested in learning more. Main Street member and owner of the Market Place, Jaime England, was raised in Manning and returned with her husband and children several years ago to open the business. Main Street Manning Board President, Jeff Blum, told the Lieutenant Governor he and his wife, Jaimie, have a similar story.
Gregg agreed, saying things often change once people start having kids. He says we need to find a way to communicate with the young people about the benefits of smaller community living versus what they were seeking in their early careers in Omaha, Neb., Des Moines or other urban areas.
Blum says it is not just about the quality of life, but the opportunities that people may not be aware exist in some of Iowa’s smaller communities.
Lt. Gov. Gregg says they are trying to do more to expose students to the possible careers that are available in their own communities. The most recent way they are doing this is through Governor Kim Reynolds’ Future Ready Iowa. The initiative’s goal is to have 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce possessing education or training beyond high school by 2025. They are promoting skills development and training in high-demand areas that include a great many of the businesses and industries that are building and thriving in Iowa’s rural landscape.