A December 2008 report by the Generation Iowa Commission finds:

  • Iowa had a “brain drain” of 19,500 college-educated people for 1995-2000.
  • 12 percent of currently available jobs in Iowa are for college graduates.
  • Iowa’s brain drain is 4th worst in the nation since 2000.
  • Iowa is one of only six states facing a declining rate of the percent of our population with at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Iowa has the 9th lowest average wage out of 10 regional states.
  • Iowa’s wages are 20 percent lower than the national average.
  • Cost of living adjustments do not make up the wage gap.
  • Iowa college students rank 17th nationally at a volunteer rate of 32 percent.

The Commission offers several recommendations to attempt to reverse these alarming trends, including:

  1. Allowing Next Generation more participation and input on state economic commissions and boards,
  2. Advancing a more ambitious and expansive job-creation program throughout the state,
  3. Expanding internship availabilities to Iowa college students in higher-educated growth industries, and
  4. Providing increased incentives for participation in Americorps and other volunteer organizations within the state.

Iowa is a national leader in alternative fuel and energy production.  It would be interesting to see if the state can create a new model for economic success by powering the country through the utilization of young talent and ideas, before these college graduates leave our state in search of greener pastures.