With Iowa’s jobless rate at a low 3.1 percent, finding and keeping workers — in the service industry or manufacturing, agriculture or for office positions, at for-profits or not-for-profits, in large or small communities — continues to be a vexing challenge for employers.

And the effects of the year-long pandemic — along with August’s costly derecho — on the economy have added to the headaches.

To aid in focusing on where we are and how to move forward, The Gazette’s first Business Breakfast panel for 2021, “How Do We Rebuild: Workforce Hiring and Retention,” is set for online at 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 16.

Register here

Panelists will be:

Jason Glass, Glass People Solutions

Claudia Schabel, Schabel Solutions

John Sorensen, the Iowa Bankers Association and Iowa Business Council

Ryan West, Iowa Workforce Development

Bethany Wilcoxon, McClure

They will share their thoughts on the hiring landscape, how to determine what skills Iowa’s workforce will require in the near future and what prospective workers expect from a 21st century employer.

Viewers will be able to submit questions to panelists during the live discussion. The conversation will be recorded and available for viewing later, too.

“With the pandemic and social distancing, we’ve had to rethink our quarterly breakfast panels that we’d held at NewBoCo’s cafe space,” said Michael Chevy Castranova, The Gazette business editor and panel moderator. “We repositioned, as did many businesses and organizations in 2020 — and as we did with our successful Iowa Ideas Conference — to online.


“So there are some differences in our new format,” he said. “But in most ways it’s the same — a group of knowledgeable, real-world professionals you might not hear from all the time get together to talk over important, Iowa-relevant business issues.”

The live event will be free, with registration required at thegazette.com/special-events/business-breakfast.

This year’s Gazette Business Breakfast panels are sponsored by BerganKDV, the business, financial and technology solutions company. Community partners are NewBoCo and Corridor Careers.

The Gazette

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