Report Tells Des Moines Metro to Focus on Workers, Think Globally

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DES MOINES, Iowa--It's time for the Des Moines metro to think about how to recruit and retain workers better and also to look overseas for more investment. Those are the findings from The Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. The Greater Des Moines Partnership released the report during a news conference Monday morning at its downtown headquarters.

"A robust globalization is crucial to any economic development efforts moving forward," said Jay Byers, the Partnership's CEO.

The region has boasted about its low unemployment and numerous top-tier rankings in overall economy and a best place to live, work and raise a family.

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Downtown at sunset. Photo: pippop3000@yahoo.com

But the new report found the metro fails to attract the foreign investment it needs for companies to excel here and it needs its workers to have the skills global companies desire.

Brad McDearman, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, said the metro should focus on what it already does well as it looks to the future, primarily in the insurance and financial services sectors, as well as agriculture and biosciences.

"It has to be something that is really unique to you and where you really excel," McDearman told Channel 13 news after his presentation.

"Growth in big businesses no longer comes as rapidly as it is now in smaller and mid-sized companies," added Kavilash Chawla, a Partner at Baton Global and Visiting Scholar at Drake University. "Smaller companies with 50, 100, 200 employees where opportunities exist in the long term...that's where investors will get return."

Read the full report here. 

Read the Greater Des Moines’ global trade and investment plan here.