Blouin kicks off job discussion in Newton

Blouin kicks off job discussion in Newton
 
Date May 16, 2006
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By JOHN JENNINGS

NDN Staff Writer

Former congressman and Iowa Economic Development director Mike Blouin told a small group at the Midtown Cafe on Monday afternoon that he had reservations about coming to Newton.

“I didn’t want to come here today, because I didn’t want it to look like I was playing on your problems,” Blouin said. However, his tour of the state to talk about jobs and his plan for job creation should begin in Newton, he said, because of Maytag.

“The devastating announcement in Newton represents what is at stake in Iowa and now is the time for experience, steady leadership in job creation and protection,” he said.

Blouin released details of his job creation plan in a press release earlier Monday. As governor, he says he would focus first on renewable energy, advanced technology and manufacturing and new markets for Iowa’s agricultural sciences and products.

Blouin’s plan calls for commitment on behalf of the state over the next 10 years to fully implement the recommendations of the Battelle Report, which outlined unique opportunities in Iowa to pursue growth in one of the state’s core strengths, advanced manufacturing.

Blouin is calling for further support for skilled workers by fully funding the Iowa Community College system’s formula. Investment in economic development must be properly implemented, he says, by full accountability through the appointment of a strategic officer to serve as point person.

To increase innovation and development of Iowa manufacturing, and to encourage small business growth, Blouin wants to focus on four strategies: Raise the profile of Iowa manufacturers; increase capacity and collaboration of manufacturers to boost research and development; encourage innovation; and strengthen worker training and trade skill development.

Blouin’s advice to Newton as it faces the loss of Maytag and its workforce, is to make a plan and stick with it.

“You’ve got to be willing to stick with it through the failures to get to the successes,” Blouin said. “And at the state level, we need to partner with communities on their terms.”

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