Tom Rubel, executive dean of the division at Indian Hills Community College, presented his and his team's research on economic development in southeast Iowa to a group of city leaders Monday night.
"We're developing strategies to see if we can turn this big battleship of economic vitality around," Rubel
"We're not sending a message that we can fix everything, nor do we want to be the only economic division in the region.
"We want to be a resource and a partner and to collaborate with citizens in our 10-county region to see what we can do to create more jobs."
said Iowa ranks 50th in the nation in retaining college graduates, with less than 50 percent choosing to remain in the state.
In comparison, Wisconsin retains 80 percent of its college graduates.
"What's going on in Wisconsin that's not happening here?
Separating it out even further, Rubel
found that only 40 percent of the three Regents universities' graduates and 42 percent of Iowa's private colleges' graduates stay in the state, while 89 percent of Iowa's community college graduates do.
"When community colleges were designed in 1964 and 1965, they were designed as colleges, but also, workforce preparation was a big part of that," Rubel
"If anybody has a chance of impacting the future of Iowa, it could be community colleges."
threw out the disclaimer that he
is not anti-four-year institutions, he
said that the majority of students enrolled in secondary education in Iowa are enrolled in community colleges.
To develop a strategic plan and to foster growth and economic development, Rubel
and the rest of the Regional Economic Advancement division will be speaking to leaders in its 10-county region: Mahaska, Keokuk, Lucas, Monroe, Wapello, Jefferson, Wayne, Appanoose, Davis and Van Buren counties.