This Week in the Corridor
Educators essential to economic development
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Thankfully, here in the Iowa Lakes Corridor, investing in education is easy.

To close out our series on economic development partners, it’s time to cheerlead for our educational institutions. We’ll start with the public and parochial schools. A whopping 14 school districts touch the four counties of the Iowa Lakes Corridor region. All work collaboratively with employers to ensure that curriculum aligns with the needs of the future workplace. From extended career experiences in Spencer, culinary arts in Storm Lake, and so-called J-terms in several districts to No Boundaries, a project-based learning effort linking Graettinger-Terril, Okoboji and Spencer, our region’s educators are constantly innovating to keep kids engaged and learning. (An apology to the organizers of the many other school programs that didn’t get mentioned.)

When a student graduates, and often even before, they enjoy multiple options for higher education. Iowa Lakes Community College and Iowa Central College both serve the Corridor, providing two-year degree programs and certification programs that offer almost instant employability. Some estimates suggest that the majority of jobs in Iowa in the next few decades will be mid-skilled, meaning they require more than a high school program but less than a bachelors degree. That’s the wheelhouse of the community colleges.

Iowa Lakes and Iowa Central also play an integral economic development role through the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training program, commonly referred to as 260E ( In simplest terms, companies creating jobs in Iowa can work with the community colleges to apply for funds to support employee training and development. The colleges finance the awards through bonds that are paid back via a diversion of a portion of the payroll taxes from the new jobs. Thus the program is essentially free to the business. If you’re company would like to learn more about 260E, please call the Corridor, 712.264.3474, and we’ll connect you with the correct community college contact.

Last but certainly not least is 2019 Iowa Lakes Corridor Chairman’s Award winner, Buena Vista University. The intellectual hub of Northwest Iowa, BVU annually graduates scores of students who take on management and leadership roles in area organizations. Many of the region’s largest operations are led by alums. Here at the Corridor our favorite former Beaver is Alyssa Petersen, our Coordinator of Administration and Communication, who finished up her studies two years ago and immediately become irreplaceable to this office.

Recognizing the needs of its home area, BVU has in recent years added agricultural business and science programs and unveiled the new Donald F. and Charlene K. Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. With these initiatives, the university is destined for ever greater influence in the local workplace in the decades to come. 

Air Choice One is looking for input to determine the wants and needs of our community.

Help determine the future of commercial air service in Spencer by taking this survey by  Monday, February 24.

Hiring interns this summer?
Looking for additional funding support? Check out the
The Corridor is also compiling a list of internships available throughout the summer to publish and assist those looking to improve their skills and gain workplace experience. If you have internships you're looking to fill, please send an email to Alyssa Petersen at!
Featured Real Estate
Site: Spirit Lake Shell Building

Location: 540 5th St. E.
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
30,000 SF

Sale Price: $799,000

For more information visit the Corridor website!
This Week in the Corridor
Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corp. closing in on a milestone when it comes to small business start-ups
Of 99 start-ups helped by the Corridor staff in the last 10 years, over a thousand jobs have been created, over $14 million has been raised, and only six of these start-ups have gone by the wayside.

Learn more about the Corridor's support of entrepreneurship.
Iowa Manufacturing Plan 4.0

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has launched a year-long study of Iowa's Manufacturing sector with support from Teconomy Partners in order to identify the challenges facing Iowa's Manufacturing industry. Teconomy will convene working groups in five focus areas throughout late spring and summer. Individuals interested in being a part of the working group conversations can apply to participate in one or more of the groups focused on Tech Adoption and Utilization, Improved Supply Chain Linkages, Accelerating Startups, Scale-ups by Fostering Innovation, Effectively Trained Workforce, and Infrastructure for Digital Tech and Sustainable Manufacturing. Applications are being accepted now through February 29th.

The second webinar in the  "Future Ready Iowa: Build Your Workforce" series is coming up Feb. 28th. Hear from other employers who have used innovative strategies to solve their workforce needs, and they're happy to share what's worked for them.

Investor Spotlight
Each week we want to feature and thank the businesses and individuals that have committed to economic development and growth in our communities. To learn more about these investors and others, visit our  Business Directory!
Buena Vista County
Sector: Cities & Counties
Location: Storm Lake (County Seat)
Description: Buena Vista County is named for the final victory field of General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican-American War.
Buena Vista University
Sector: Business Services/Other
Location: Storm Lake
Description: BVU's mission is to develop students for lifelong success through innovative and imaginative academic and professional preparation.
Jobs in the Iowa Lakes Corridor
Post your jobs where quality candidates are already looking:

See current job openings here.
Questions? Want to be featured in next week's newsletter?
Contact the Iowa Lakes Corridor at ,
or call us at 712.264.3474.