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BOONE, Iowa- The Iowa Business Council is holding a series of meetings around the state to gain statewide perspective on possible upcoming legislative issues and workforce issues.

The meetings are called Vision to Vitality, and the first one was held at DMACC in Boone Tuesday. The first meeting was hosted by Reynolds Cramer, CEO of Fareway, which is based in Boone.

“We need your input, and the goal is as we have this type of get together throughout the entire state, over the course of many months that we come up with a lot of the same thoughts and priorities,” said Cramer.

“The Iowa Business Council and our members have made it a priority to advocate for policies that will achieve continued growth for all business, regardless of their size,” said IBC executive director Georgia Van Gundy, in a news release. “The Iowa Business Council understands that listening to challenges faced by local leaders will be critical to achieve our organization’s goal of developing policies to encourage economic prosperity in all corners of Iowa.”

The panel discussed a program now underway in the Boone schools called Edge, which helps develop curriculum and work experiences for students before they graduate, to help prepare them for the workforce.

“The things that employers have talked about was how do we connect with students time early on to help them understand the career opportunities that are here in Iowa,” said Van Gundy. “Also, what is the education path for those careers, and the best way to do that is to have hands-on experiences within the businesses.”

Because of their unique location, the Ames Business Community has thousands of prospective employees graduating from Iowa State each year.

“From the smallest of small companies, to our largest employers, they’ve all got jobs you could attract people back to the state,” said Dan Culhane, President and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce. “That’s the message we’re trying to put in front of these students as they’re leaving Iowa State University.”

The Iowa Business Council has two more forums planned in the coming weeks:

September 11, 2018: Muscatine Vision to Vitality forum hosted by HNI Corporation and Kent Corporation

October 9, 2018: Le Mars Vision to Vitality forum hosted by Wells Enterprises, Inc.