Progress 2022

Page 1


March 20, 2022 SECTION F

Left behind Great Resignation also affects those who stay HART PISANI

Globe Gazette‌

The Great Resignation has impacted businesses all across the country in a multitude of ways. The Globe Gazette spoke with two local workers to get a feel for how the Great Resignation has impacted them. Their names have been kept anonymous to avoid fallout in their respective workplaces.

Landscape architect‌

When speaking with a landscape architect, we inquired about various aspects of his business that have been impacted by the Great Resignation. “We’ve had trouble filling blue collar landscaping maintenance positions,” he said. “(We haven’t had) a lot of resignations, but the sentiment is definitely there that if anyone was really fed up with work here, they could just walk down the street and find another job for less stress and most likely less pay.” Even though the architect’s primary duties place him in the office, he’s noticed an increase in his own workload and the workload of others in his business. “I’ve had to step up into other positions that I wasn’t originally hired to perform, but fortunately for me it’s stuff I enjoy,” he said. “No increase in overtime or anything like that, just more responsibilities to be done when we have the time.” When it comes to bringing in new employees, however, the architect said he’s noticed a a considerable change since the Great Resignation began. “The biggest element of work to suffer in our business is the training. We haven’t had the manpower to properly service all our clients while also properly training new employees.


Stellar Industries Vice President of Human Resources Susan Sabin says there have been more challenges to hire people.

HIRE POWERS Companies rethink approach to recruiting, retaining employees



Globe Gazette‌

iring has become a challenge for local big business. To get the job done, big businesses have made adjustments to attract and retain employees. Across the nation, millions of people have stepped away from jobs amid what’s being called the Great Resignation. Experts say it’s driven by employees wanting better working conditions. MecyOne North Iowa Medical Center President Rod Schlader said hospitals across the country are experiencing critical staffing shortages. MercyOne North Iowa recognizes that staffing demand

increased during the pandemic as the number of trained providers decreased. “It’s important as we look to the future that we are open to creating thriving environments Schlader for our colleagues and providers,” said Schlader. “For example, we are innovating and exploring the possibilities of digital support staff and new models of care.” Stellar Industries Vice President of Human Resources Susan Sabin said the company hasn’t seen the mass exodus other industries have, but does have

open positions that needing to be filled. To that end, Stellar has become more flexible to accommodate its employees, like allowing people to work from home. MercyOne North Iowa and Stellar have developed programs for staff retention. Schlader said MercyOne North Iowa has put increased focus on workplace culture and support for its team. For example, a Care Circle team is available to provide activities and group counseling to all support staff. Additionally, it is reviewing pay and benefits on a regular basis to stay competitive within the health care market, he said. Please see HIRE, Page F2

Please see RESIGNATION, Page F2


Comeback kids Mason City has many benefits to attract workers

Making history


Home work

Clear Lake added big projects in 2021

Pandemic changed how many of us do our jobs




Apply at IMT.COM/CAREERS. Have questions? Email us at WORK@IMT.COM.



| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette

Food deliveries soar as restaurants see new normal RAE BURNETTE

Globe Gazette ‌

Almost two years after the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants have yet to return to normal. Rising food costs and the surge of the COVID-19 omicron variant have exacerbated the restaurant industry’s struggle to maintain profits. Some 87% of restaurants experienced a decline in indoor dining in recent weeks due to omicron, according to a January COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey. According the Iowa Restaurant Association, “62% of operators say business conditions for their restaurant are worse now than they were three months ago.” Many restaurants closed for indoor dining in 2020, and customer demand has still not risen to pre-pandemic levels. In 2020, more consumers ate at home, but 2021 saw a return to restaurant dining, either in person or via delivery, according to the USDA. That’s been good for third-party delivery services, but restaurant operators are feeling the pinch of it due to a lack of legislation of these services. The Iowa Restaurant Association reports that 40% of restaurants in the state have experienced third-party delivery services representing themselves as partners without the consent of

Resignation From F1

“So we get new employees who we absolutely need to keep on, but they aren’t able to complete the job to our standards so the training time ends up being a lot longer, and clients suffer in the meantime. ...It’s always possible the new employee just never gets properly trained on a specific element.” The architect says his employees have taken to working multiple jobs during these times. “Most of our guys have second small odd jobs when they have the time,” he said. “But I haven’t heard of any increases in that since COVID. My employers have stepped up and made sure


Restaurants like K&B Emporium in Clear Lake often find themselves empty outside of peak hours. the restaurant. Restaurants also receive complaints about orders and delivery times ordered through those services, and half of restaurant operators have had to remake orders due to delayed pickup by third-party delivery drivers. With the uptick in demand for delivery food, restaurants owners say they are not properly protected or accurately compensated by third-party delivery services. Two-thirds of restaurants want to see contract legislation to protect the restaurant from delivery service negligence, according to the IRA. Many restaurants do

not see profit from these delivery services, but with a decrease in indoor dining, it has helped some businesses stay open. Rising food costs have also been a major problem for restaurants and businesses, with 33% of restaurants participating in the 2022 State of the Industry Survey saying their food costs have risen 30% or more. Restaurants are combatting these rising food costs in a variety of ways: cutting portion sizes for customers, looking for cheaper vendors, and raising menu prices. The continued impacts of COVID-19 have left busi-

the hard-working individ- problem because a majoruals here are taken care of.” ity of them are women, and walking 15 minutes by yourself at night is dangerous.” Retail worker‌ The hardest hit lines of Instead of having to take work include customer ser- on more work as a result of vice and retail employees. staff shortages, he said he’s We spoke with one sales getting fewer work shifts. associate at a retail outlet “During dead periods about his experience with that aren’t the holidays we the Great Resignation. get way less shifts,” he said. “Retail is having a huge “The company doesn’t have amount of people quitting the shifts to give. So a lot of due to lack of benefits and the sales associates (not pay,” said the sales associ- managers or key holders) ate. “The minimum wage is only get two shifts a week.” terrible. Luckily, at my work He said many of his we got a pay bump recently. co-workers hold more than Still, it doesn’t make up for one job to make ends meet. how much the company “A lot of people work squeezes every penny out more than one job,” he said. of its workers. It’s insane we “I can say I’m lucky I have don’t have benefits as sales financial stability from my associates, and parking family, but of course others passes. A lot of my co-work- definitely don’t have the ers have to walk 15 minutes same luxury. A lot are teachto get to work. This is a huge ers or restaurant workers.”

Mason City Super Target continues to see drive-up customers into 2022. nesses with lower customer traffic and accumulated debt. However, one Mason City restaurant is bucking the trend. Taco Tico has seen an increase in customers since closing its dining room in March 2020. It saw just a 1% dip in profits as customers lined the drive-thru in droves. The restaurant took advantage of the closure to do some renovations and reopened its dining room in February 2021. Since then, Taco Tico has seen an increase in profits, staying busier now than they were pre-pandemic. “We were very lucky and very fortunate” said Corey, Taco Tico manager. Consumers also hit grocery


pickup and delivery hard last year. In the third quarter of 2021, Target saw a 60% increase in same-day services (drive up, pick up, and grocery delivery). Despite food shortages leaving shelves empty in stores throughout the country, grocery pickup and delivery continues to be profitable for grocery store chains like Fareway, Hy-Vee and Walmart. Sales of grocery delivery and pickup have gone from $1.2 billion in August 2019 to $6.4 billion in October 2021, according to statista. Gretchen Burnette is a Weeklies Editor and Daily Reporter at the Globe Gazette. You can reach her by phone at 641.421.0523 or at Gretchen.

From F1

families have a brighter future.” Stellar retains and attracts employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, with part of an employee’s 401k invested in the company. Sabin said wages recently increased by $2.25 per hours, and the company continues to do competitive reviews of salaries. Stellar also reduced health care costs for its employees. “We will continue to look at (health care costs) because we want people to know we want them to have a good work-life balance,” she said. Stellar continues its ef-

To attract new hires, MercyOne has a $15 minimum wage implemented at all of its sites and offers referral bonuses to employees. “We’ve made health benefits effective on day one for all of our new hires so that our colleagues would have early access for all of their health care needs,” said Schlader. “These changes in our benefits program are just a few ways MercyOne can help each of our amazing colleagues and their


Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at Abby.Koch@


25 Years

Over 1 brating


forts to attract potential employees through advertising and social media campaigns, as well as through its own website. But Sabin said Stellar relies heavily on recruitment through word of mouth and and employee referral program. “As much as it is about recruitment, it is much about retaining staff and that they receive equal,” said Sabin.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022 |

Greetings from


 Clear Lake’s Main Street.

The ground floor of the Clear Lake Wellness Center.

A historic year in Clear Lake New construction is going up all over town


and conference center in more than two decades — opened east of Interstate 35 and north of Highway 122 at a time when virtually no hotels were being built anywhere in the country. Pritchard Companies recently purchased two vacant buildings with plans to grow their diverse business. Clear Lake Storage Depot, NTI, and Ward-Van Slyke invested in significant expansions. Greenlee Corrugated Solutions is bringing new life to an old warehouse. RAKA and Renovo Media Group also recently made Clear Lake home. Nearly a dozen locally owned restaurants, retail and specialty shops have opened or relocated to Main Avenue since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, making our city’s downtown more vibrant than ever. People and businesses are investing in Clear Lake because they believe it is the best community to live in and grow their business. The new 81,000-square-foot Clear Lake Athletics and Wellness Center is another example of an investment that will serve the community and its residents for decades to come as it helps attract young families and new visitors to our city. We know there are still challenges to overcome, but we will continue to work alongside our community partners to build a stronger North Iowa.

n 2020, the Clear Lake community embraced the mantra, “Together We Rise,” and that phrase continues to be our rallying cry, especially as 2021 brought a new set of challenges in workforce recruiting, supply chain bottlenecks, housing shortages, and skyrocketing prices. However, as Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce writer Ashley Weiss STACY DOUGHAN stated in her 2022 Destination Clear Lake article, “The Place for Progress,” “2021 was a historic year for Clear Lake.” Together we continued to rise above and tackle the challenges facing our community. Alongside the City of Clear Lake, North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp., and many other community partners, we focused on building a place where people want to live, work, and visit. And as a result, construction is happening all over town. Large commercial developments like Courtway Park and Emerald Edge are drawing new businesses to town, including Old Dominion Freight Line. Stacy Doughan is president and CEO of the The 85-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce. Marriott — Clear Lake’s first new hotel


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Clear Lake Established:




AREA OF DETAIL Cerro Gordo County

CERRO GORDO Population:



Mason City


Employment rate:


Clear Lake

61.8%©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:


Average commute to work:

Distance to:

Des Moines: 114 miles, or about 1 hour and 50 minutes  Minneapolis/ NAMED AFTER: St. Paul: 132 miles, The city is named for or about 2 hours the large lake on which 

it sits.

Mason City:

10 miles, or about 19 minutes

16.4 minutes

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| SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022



Greetings from


Mason City




“We realized that people are looking at much more than pay and benefits. We realized that attitude, workplace experience, a welcoming attitude and radical hospitality are also key factors. This is the secret sauce that is attracting quality workers.”


Manly 65



Cerro Gordo County

Winnebago River

Bill Schickel, Mason City Mayor

The River City comeback story rates nationwide. Mason City was one of the first cities in Iowa to substantially hike pay and benefits for police officers. More importantly, however, we took a good look at ourselves. We realized that people are looking at much more than pay here is endless talk about a shortage and benefits. We realized that attitude, of workers. In North Iowa, we roll up workplace experience, a welcoming attitude and radical hospitality are also key our sleeves and find solutions. factors. This is the secret sauce that is When 16,000 RAGBRAI bicycle ridattracting quality workers. ers roll into Mason City in late July, they Another solution is partnerships. will receive a welcome like never before. Many will be When there are relationships of respect and trust, when we look at each other in visiting the original River the most generous way, anything is posCity for the first time. We are putting together strat- sible. Without it, nothing is possible. We understand that having Clear Lake, one of egies to touch base with the most popular lakes in the Midwest, as as many as possible to let them know about the great a nearby neighbor is one of Mason City’s BILL SCHICKEL benefits of living and work- greatest assets. And Mason City is one of ing in Mason City. With all Clear Lake’s greatest assets as a destinathe improvements in recent tion for employment, shopping, music and art. That is why we work jointly on years, we believe the city will also sell economic development. itself. In a world where many can work reOne of our strategies is word of mouth, one of the best kinds of promotion. That motely, people are choosing places to live. Mason City has been named a “Great is where we all come in. Don’t be shy Place” twice by the Iowa Department of about telling the story of the great River Cultural Affairs. This helped us obtain City comeback. grants for the renovation of the Historic Word of mouth is also part of the plan Park Inn, the building of the Architectural we used in recruiting eight great new Interpretive Center, and now our current police officers in the past two months. undertaking, the Real River City River We were able to lead the way on police Walk. department hiring despite high vacancy





of serving North Iowa Est. 1937

510 South Washington Ave. Mason City, IA 50401


18 65

62.9%©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:

Distance to:



Average commute to work:

15.8 minutes

tiM lathaM 641-425-0363

Des Moines:

The name ‘Mason City’ was adopted in 1855 after a founder’s son, Mason Long. The town had several names before 1855, including Shibboleth, Masonic Grove and Masonville.

The fundamental transformation of our downtown has caused the lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast to take note. It twice named Mason City “one of 20 best cities in the world for architecture lovers.” This puts Mason City right up there with the likes of Miami, Rome and Athens! We are making these improvements because Iowans have been dissatisfied with entertainment opportunities. More than two-thirds think they are inferior to those in other states, according to a poll by CYGNAL, conducted for the Iowa Chamber Alliance. However, the opposite is true for Iowa’s outdoor recreation opportunities. That is why also highlighting

PaM hildeBrand 641-512-4816


Clear Lake

Employment rate:

Enhancements making Mason City, North Iowa a top-notch destination


Mason City


Staci MellMan 641-430-1070

120 miles, or about 1 hour and 50 minutes

Minneapolis/ St. Paul:

137 miles, or about 2 hours and 20 minutes

Iowa’s outdoor recreational options is part of a winning message in our recruitment efforts. We are the original River City, but our beautiful rivers have been an underutilized asset. The new Real River City River Walk, featuring recreation trails, better lighting and public art, will change this. Dam modifications and other enhancements are also making the Winnebago River a destination for kayaking and fishing. The new High Line Trail will further highlight our waterways. These enhancements have made being in North Iowa a world-class experience. Bill Schickel is the mayor of Mason City.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022 |



Egloff House at 312 E. State St.

Workforce recruitment is everyone’s job Chamber’s Community Concierge program and Egloff House can assist


he workforce shortage continues to be a top concern to North Iowa businesses, and the Chamber’s Community Concierge program and assistance ROBIN with the ANDERSON Historic Egloff House are two ways the Chamber is working to address this issue.

Community Concierge

This service provides individualized assistance to local businesses to attract and retain new employees. The program offers a personalized community tour for the job candidate and their family, cost-ofliving comparisons to help the candidates analyze job offers, and relocation assistance once the employee signs. The Chamber is in its fifth year of offering these services and has worked with more than 150 candidates. Anecdotal and survey results indicate this program is moving the needle. Respondents report they felt more “recruited” here than by competitor communities and feel more “connected.” This program is funded through investors who “pay to play,” as well as voluntary contributions from Chamber members. The Community Concierge provides the following services:  Personalized welcome baskets for hotel rooms.  Personalized community tours and introductions (schools, daycares, health clubs, etc.).  Assistance finding employment for a trailing spouse.  Assistance in locating quality rental housing.  The New to North Iowa guide as well as our Community Reference guide and other printed materials.  A customized video lure piece.  Community Concierge Card featuring goods and services from Chamber members to enable card holders to “try before they buy.”  Introduction to service clubs, churches, volunteer opportunities, etc.  Ongoing touchstone for future resources once the employee is settled in North Iowa.

Historic Egloff House

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The flood of 2008 damaged several historically and architecturally significant buildings in Mason City. Of the more than 160 houses placed on the FEMA buy-out list and slated for demolition, the most heart-breaking was the William C. And Margaret Egloff House in the Park Place neighborhood. With Mason City’s growing reputation as a destination for architecture, it seemed unforgivable to allow the wrecking ball to

have the last word. The house, which boasts several classic elements of Streamline International architecture, is significant because of the revolutionary placement of the garage as the primary focal point of its front facade, reflecting the increasing importance of the automobile to America’s middle class. Previously, garages had been located behind houses along an alley, so this placement initiated a new architectural trend. It was a long and expensive process for an all-volunteer group, but in the end, the Historic Egloff House (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and three additional houses from the Park Place neighborhood were saved. In addition, six blighted properties on East State Street were acquired and razed as part of this project. The relocated houses, a large gray four-square, brick Tudor, and limestone cottage, provide architectural context for the Egloff House. What’s more, they have transformed the neighborhood, which is located along the Architectural Walking Tour between the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Historic Park Inn Hotel and the Rock Crest/Rock Glen Historic District. However, house museums have a difficult time cash-flowing. The project volunteers were committed to finding an adaptive reuse for this property that would result in economic stability and solve a community need. North Iowa hosts many students for internships and medical rotations as part of their professional training. Previously, this


Egloff house restorations. pool was limited to those who could arrange to stay with friends or family. Utilizing the five bedrooms and common areas as short-term, furnished housing for these students filled an articulated workforce need. With this

flexible housing option, local businesses can host interns from across the country. And they are doing just that! The goal is to connect these young professionals to the community and to each other, as well as fos-

ter an environment that will encourage them to accept full-time positions in North Iowa when they complete their education. For more information about the Historic Egloff House and rental opportunities for college interns

and professional students or about the Community Concierge service, contact the Chamber of Commerce. Robin Anderson is president and CEO of Chamber of Commerce.

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| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette

TruStile: Open A Door To A Better Life By MARY PIEPER/Pam Lampman Special to the Globe Gazette TruStile A Marvin Brand, located in Northwood, IA is a company that is driven by purpose: To imagine and create better ways of living. TruStile was founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1995 with the goal of producing high-quality doors by blending modern technology with old-world craftsmanship. The company acquired the door manufacturing division of Woodharbor Custom Cabinetry in Northwood in 2011. In 2015 TruStile was acquired by The Marvin Companies but retained its status as an independent entity. TruStile currently has more than 600 employees overall, with 200 of them working at the Northwood, IA plant and 400 at the Denver, CO location. More than 6,000 employees total are working at Marvin’s 14 locations. TruStile has continued to grow year over year for the past five to eight years, but 2022 is shaping up to be the best yet, according to Kris Pierce, Plant Manager. He said the company is anticipating an unprecedented growth rate of up to 18%. At the end of 2020,TruStile launched a new line of exterior entry systems that include a sidelight, a transom, and a transom sidelight. Kris Pierce says that the new line is a major

“Our growth will be closely tied to our ability to recruit and grow the team in Northwood,“ Pierce said. “Lots of companies are raising their wages to entice new employees, but TruStile is also focusing on making the company an attractive place to work”, according to Pierce. He said “TruStile already has lots to offer, including competitive wages, good benefits, and a Monday through Friday schedule with no night or weekend shifts”. However,“We are challenging ourselves this year,” Pierce said.“How do we make it even more attractive from a scheduling standpoint?”

including the local Rube Goldberg contest, according to Bry. The other engineering manager at the Northwood plant, Chad Tiedemann, recently judged a Rube Goldberg contest. Tiedemann, who started at the Northwood plant in 1996 when it was still Woodharbor and has been there ever since, came up with the tagline,“Open a Door to a Better Life.” TruStile is generous in allowing team members to take time off during the day for things like their kids’ athletic events as long as they get their work done, according to Tiedemann. “I really appreciate that,” he said.

TruStile is doing some prototyping in individual departments for flexible scheduling.

At TruStile, team members work Monday thru Thursday, 10-hour shifts and Fridays are for needed OT to fulfill their orders.

Pam Lampman, Human Resources manager,

Marc Kincade, the senior production manager at the Northwood plant, joined TruStile three months ago from an environment where he was working 60 to 70 hours a week. However, now he can leave at 2:30 or 3:30 p.m. on a Friday. “It’s just not in our culture to work Saturdays,” he said.

said the leadership is listening to the team members and responding to their life needs. We put people first — not just in how we design, but in how we build for the future. We commit to long-lasting and trusting relationships with our employees, customers, partners and communities, and are there for them when they need us most.

TruStile hires quality employees, and the people already at the plant take good care of the new hires and make sure they are trained well to ensure a strong team atmosphere, according to Kincade.

One goal of flex scheduling is to allow employees to recharge their bodies, find

factor in our recent and future growth. In addition to this, renovations and upgrades are also contributing to our growth. Higher costs and longer lead times are influencing more people to upgrade what they have, as opposed to build something new. As people spend more time indoors, Marvin recognizes that their work isn’t just about building better doors and windows- it’s about opening new possibilities for how people live, time to interact with their families and work, and play inside a Marvin space. Since engage in their communities, according the day Marvin opened their doors in 1912 as a family owned and -operated cedar and to Lampman. Having a 40, 45 & 50-hour schedule available to our employees is allowing them to be able to pursue a work – life balance. For some employees, taking a day off when needed, but working longer days when they are on the job so they still have a 40-hour work week might be attractive, according to Lampman. TruStile Managers Front Row: EHS Manager Andy Grunhovd, Plant Manager Kris Pierce, Quality Manager Harold Tonkins, Maintenance Manager Paul Quintero & Engineer Manager Kyle Bry. Second Row: Production Manager Robert Wingler, Sr. Production Manager Marc Kincade, Custom Engineering Manager Chad Tiedemann & HR Manager Pam Lampman. Not pictured: Hayley Maher, Purchasing and Inventory Manager and Todd Piper, Director of Engineering

lumber company they have looked for ways to help people live happier, healthier lives. TruStile team members say the company gives them the gift of work-life balance. Pam Lampman, Human Resource Manager says,“We design for how people live and work, imagining new ways to help them feel healthier and happier in the spaces where they live, work and play.” “We make really pretty doors, but there’s more to life than making a door,” said engineering manager Kyle Bry. The Northwood plant has added 14 new positions since January. Another 20 jobs are expected to be added by the end of the year.

When it comes to flex scheduling,“All 14 plants are watching us to see how it goes,” Lampman said. Bry began his career with TruStile three years ago in Denver. He moved to Northwood 15 months ago to work at the plant there. He said moving from a big city to a small one made it easier for him to be involved in

Production manager Robert Wingler, who has been at the plant for seven months, said before joining TruStile he was working up to 90 hours a week, including weekends. Now he can work 40, 45 or 50 hours a week with half a day or a full day off each week. TruStile recognizes that a person’s quality of life matters, according to Wingler. “This company is not your life. It’s a way to supplement your life,” he said.“It’s nice to work for a company that actually seems to care about what goes on with their people.” The company also is committed to Sustainability.They are used to taking the long-term view, and they recognize that a serious commitment to sustainable operations is just good business.They are committed to sustainable business practices, both for the environment and for the communities in which they operate. At Marvin, sustainability goes beyond “green” business practices, including implementing environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and building sustainable communities across the United States, where Marvin products are manufactured.

the community, which is something TruStile encourages.The company has supported many community events, fundraisers and sponsors many youth and adult teams, including his girls’ soccer team.The company also invests in area STEM programs Sponsored Content

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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |

Open a Door to a Better Life Employees have made TruStile a leading manufacturer of made-to-order doors. Key to this is helping employees maintain a work-life balance. We all need the freedom to engage in the things that are important in our lives.

Bring Your Talents to TruStile We are looking to expand our team of talent right now. We offer excellent benefits including: •

Monday – Friday 1st Shift Openings

Flex Day Scheduling

40/45/50 Hour Schedules Available

• Starting Wage $18.00 – $21.81/hour Get paid for your experience! •

Medical, Dental, Vision & Life Insurance

Signing Bonuses

Paid Time Off

401K Match*

Profit Sharing

*401K match begins after 3 month waiting period

Hiring Event Where: TruStile Doors 100 Enterprise Drive Northwood, IA 50459

When: Thursday, March 24 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm Friday, March 25 9:00 am – Noon

Come See us. We’re hiring on the spot. $500 sign-on bonus!

View current job openings: See us at the the event, apply online, or call to schedule an interview

(720) 746-5424

TruStile is an equal opportunity employer. Minorities, women, disabled and veterans are encouraged to apply.

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| SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022


Greetings from

Greetings from


OSAGE  Osage Chamber of Commerce anticipates a busier year.


 A view of Charles City. LISA GROUETTE, GLOBE GAZETTE

Charles City




St. Ansgar




Floyd County





Cedar River


Charles City Cedar River



Employment rate:






MITCHELL Mitchell County




Employment rate:


Midway©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:

Distance to:

$54,274 NAMED AFTER:

Average commute to work:

17.2 minutes

Des Moines:

Median household income:


149 miles, 2 hours and 20 minutes

A man named Orrin Sage who was a banker from Ware, Massachusetts. Sage invested $2,000 and 600 acres of land to the Library Building Fund. Due to his generosity, the town’s name was changed to Osage in his honor.

Minneapolis/ St. Paul:

Mason City:

29 miles, about 40 minutes

Serving you for over

29 yearS!

Average commute to work:

14.1 minutes

Des Moines:

146 miles, 2 hours and 11 minutes


134 miles, 2 hours and 25 minutes

Distance to:

Originally named “Charlestown” for the son of the first-known settler to the area, Joseph Kelly. The name changed to “St. Charles” and finally to “Charles City” to avoid duplicating other town names in Iowa.

Minneapolis/ St. Paul:

172 miles, 2 hours and 46 minutes

 Mason City: 30 miles,

40 minutes

We’re Celebrating

90 YEARS Of Serving North Iowa!

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In our ever-changing world, we know how many options you have, and we want to express our sincere gratitude for your patronage. We will continue to strive for excellence in service and quality to offer you an exceptional shopping experience. The relationships we have built with customers like you over the past 29 years is priceless. We look forward to continuing the tradition of dressing men and women well for many more years to come.

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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |


Home work takes on new meaning More companies shift employees to working primarily from home ZACH MARTIN

Globe Gazette‌

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During the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in North Iowa were in a weird state of finding a balance between working in office space and working remotely. Principal Financial Group, one of the premier financial companies in the country, told its Mason City employees in May 2020 that they would start working from home permanently. It was the first domino to fall. There haven’t been many other dominos since. “Our involvement primarily is trying to facilitate business as they move through this,” Mason City’s City Administrator Aaron Burnett said. “Over the last two years, it has been an interesting conversation that we have with those businesses, continuing to let them prosper in Mason City.” One business has gone 99.9% remote since the pandemic started back in 2019. It has no plans on returning to its office space on a routine basis anytime soon. Employees at WebWise Solutions, a website designer business based in Mason City, have been working from home since COVID-19 first hit the country in March 2020. “We’re not a large company, but we probably spend an average of one hour week” at the office, said Adam Frederick, president and co-owner of WebWise Solutions. “We have the occasional client that feels it is important Frederick to have the in-person meeting. Otherwise, we have really adapted to working remotely.” Prior to the pandemic, Frederick said, all of the company’s work was done in its office in the Brick & Tile Building on 103 E. State St. Working remotely hadn’t crossed his mind. It became a growing conversation when the virus first made headlines in January 2020. Then, Frederick remembered something. Frederick also is an employee of IBM and has been working remotely in North Iowa for five years, far from IBM’s main building in Andover, Mass. Frederick figured WebWise Solution could venture down that avenue as well. “It was already something I’ve been very experienced with,” he said. “I pushed before for that we can function just as well even if we’re not in the office, with some of the tools we have modern day. When everything hit, it really pushed the point.” Turns out, it has been a resounding success. Frederick said the company has been just as busy with clients searching for the right website design, amongst the other services WebWise Solutions provides. One additional reason Frederick decided to go remote was the increased market for remote jobs as society has transitioned to a more digital world. “We’ve thrived,” Frederick said. “A lot of our clients have gotten comfortable meeting online. It has helped them. This way, with these online meetings we have, a person can do as little as 15 to 20 minutes from their home. It saves everyone time.” While the vast majority of WebWise Solutions employees have been working from home, Frederick said they still plan to use their


WebWise Solutions still has space in the Brick and Tile Building at 101 E. State St., but is using it infrequently as most employees work from home.


Principal Financial Group building in downtown Mason City. office building on State Street. It might be for only one hour or two hours, but Frederick knows some clients still prefer the face-to-face meeting. “We’re planning on keeping an office,” he said. “I think that’s really important for us to have an office so we can meet, we can do that type of stuff. Have that solid representation to our clients that we’re here, we’re not going anywhere.” Burnett said the city does not require businesses to spend a specific amount of hours in their buildings if a business has decided to make remote work more the standard. “As you get more people working from home, there is less demand for office space,” Burnett said. “The only thing that we require is that there is zoning. There’s certain things you can’t do from home, because it would be a violation of zoning.” One advantage for the future of remote work could be from MetroNet coming to the area next year. The fiber-optic internet service, according to Burnett, is in the planning stages of delivering fast and reliable wireless internet to the Mason City area by 2023. “That will really help those remote workers have whatever speed they really desire,” Burnett said.

“There’s parts of this community that currently don’t have service that’s really adequate for somebody to school or work from home.” What is the future of working from home? Burnett says it is a tricky question. He understands the comfort of working from home, but also mentioned that some businesses have preferred throughout the rollercoaster of the pandemic to stay in the office. More than anything, Burnett pointed to the core difference being age. “The idea that we’ll have a huge, ever-increasing number of people going into remote, I’d be surprised,” he said. “There’s a million different attitudes on remote work, some of them are generational attitudes.” Frederick stated that even if the pandemic subsides, WebWise Solutions does not plan on going back to 40 hours a week in its office. He believes remote work is here to stay. And WebWise Solutions has adapted. “I don’t foresee at this point having more office time, to be frank,” Frederick said. “For us, it is going to be more of a convenience. It makes it so nice and simple.” Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Reach him via email at zachary.martin@globegazette. com and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.

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| Sunday, March 20, 2022


Globe Gazette

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Small businesses feel bite of COVID-19 Two years after start of the pandemic, virus impacting businesses ZACHARY DUPONT

Globe Gazette ‌


Taylor Flugge of Mason City has been looking for full-time child care for two years for her daughter.

DAY CARE DESERTS Cerro Gordo County families struggle to find adequate child care



Globe Gazette ‌

n Cerro Gordo County, 81% of families with both parents working have at least one child younger than 6 years old. Some 23% of Iowans live in “child care deserts,” areas where there is no child care available. In North Iowa, just 11 of more than 50 child care providers have vacancies, according to the Department of Human Services. And of those vacancies, there are about 10 available for infants and toddlers, less than 15 for preschool-aged children, and less than 10 openings for school-aged children. Taylor Flugge of Mitchell County has been on the waiting list for two years for full-time child care. “My process trying to find day care for my daughter was a nightmare. ... She didn’t have part-time daycare until she was 5 months old. ... I went as far as Austin looking for day care.” Flugge has relied on friends and family to watch her daughter so she and her husband can work. Mitchell County currently has no vacancies registered through DHS. A major factor in child care deserts throughout the county has been a workforce shortage due to lack of funds. Kath-


The Charlie Brown Preschool & Child Care in Mason City. ryn Lloyd of Child Care Resource and Referral works to help bridge that gap. “We have a child care desert — had one before the pandemic started. Because of the pandemic, it’s accelerated to a huge issue,” said Lloyd. Child care providers who have enough physical space for more children cannot take them because of the required DHS caregiver-to-child ratio. Care centers cannot hire needed providers because the funds aren’t there to pay them a liv-

ing wage. “We pay these people less than $10 an hour and they’re taking care of our kids at a critical age,” said Flugge. Flugge became a part of her part-time day care board in Mitchell County after her daughter was accepted. She said they are worried about finding workers, as some have left to seek higher-paying jobs. Please see DAY CARE, Page G2

It’s been two years since COVID-19 first hit the United States, prompting mass shutdowns, closures and strict restrictions across the country. Two years later, things have largely opened back up, but COVID is still a major point of concern for all Americans, and local businesses are still struggling to stay afloat. Lucas Frein, the owner of Frein Audio & Technology in Mason City, has had a host of issues as a result of the pandemic that have made his business more difficult to run than in years past. Frein cited numerous problems, but the has been issues with the supply chain. His business that requires a great deal of equipment that must be bought and shipped to Mason City. Frein has struggled to work around a lack of equipment from manufacturers and extended wait times for those products. “Something that used to take two days to get now takes two weeks. Something that you used to be able to get is now back ordered for two months,” Frein explained. “I like to use the phrase ‘it’s hard to build a house with no nails.’” In addition to supply chain issues, Frein notes that manufacturer quality control has become nearly non-existent. “I would say in-between 10 and 15% of the new, out-ofthe-box peripherals we get have something wrong with them, or don’t work at all,” Frein said. “It just sets the timeline of projects back even further when this happens.” Another problem experienced by Frein, and small businesses around the country, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of available workforce to fill open positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, on the final work day of December there were 10.9 million job openings across the country, a number “little changed” from November. Please see COVID, Page G2

SBDC Stats Between October 2020 and October 2021 the SBDC and NIACC Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center helped a total of 341 unique clients.


Weird work MC schools facilities chief has seen it all 00 1


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MCPD found better way to find new hires

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| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Day care From G1

“I’m disappointed in how we are paying these people that care for these children less than what they can work at a local gas station for. They get no fringe benefits.” Flugge believes the path to fixing the workforce shortage is state subsidies. Parents cannot afford to shoulder the burden of paying workers what they deserve. In Cerro Gordo County, families earning the median income with an infant in child care pay 12-14% of their income before taxes. Child Care Aware of America considers 7% of the median income to be affordable. The pandemic has exacerbated these issues. Care centers often hired retirees for part time work. That age demographic has been slow to return to the workforce. Inflation continues to rise, tightening family budgets. Working parents can’t afford child care, but they can’t afford to stay home either. “I know everybody is looking for workers, but if (parents) don’t have somewhere to put (their) kids, (they) can’t go to work.” Flugge said. “Women started going to work because of war, and most of us have stayed in the workforce since then. But now we can’t afford to be in the workforce and have children.” To address this issue, a num-


The bureau also reports that the 6.3 million hires in the month December was a 333,000 decrease from the month of November. Frein is looking to hire two employees, something a bit easier to accomplish two years ago than today. “It’s been tough,” Frein said. For businesses looking to start up in 2021 and 2022, labor shortages present even larger hurdle than others. Brook Boehmler, the director of the North Iowa Area Small Business Development Center (SBDC), said that if you’re seeking to start a business in 2022, you better be pre-

ber of grants and local resources have rolled out in the last two years. Lloyd of CCRR said they started a discussion group with local leaders and businesses about child care. They also sent out a survey to better understand what workers in the community need related to child care. CCRR partnered with the North Iowa Children’s Alliance to fund training to support the current workforce. Child care providers have to undergo ongoing training to stay up-to-date on the needs of children. The Department of Human Services has a stabilization grant to support programs that were pinched by COVID. Federal dollars have funded child care centers through the CARES Act, and Iowa rolled out a child care initiative in November 2021 to address child care deserts. “Iowa leads the nation in the percentage of households where both parents work outside the home,” according to a press release from Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Federation estimates that this child care shortage costs the state’s economy nearly $1 billion annually in lost tax revenue, worker absence and employee turnover.” According to the governor’s office, Iowa has lost 33% of its child care businesses in the last five years. To combat this issue and promote growth, the governor has

set a $3 million appropriation for the construction, renovation and remodeling of child care facilities, called the Child Care Challenge Fund. A grant program called Child Care and Development Block Grants has similar guidelines but is expanded to include furnishings. The grants include $25 million in start-up funds, $7 million for salary stipends, and $38 million for monthly stipends to facilities that offer care to Child Care Assistance families and co-pay reimbursements to low-income families. The governor has also proposed doubling the maximum net income to be eligible for child care tax credits, from $45,000 to $90,000. There are five child care facilities in North Iowa that received Child Care and Development Block Grants: Childtime Clubhouse in Northwood Kids Korner Inc. dba First Steps Early Learning Center in Clarion Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ventura Simmering-Cory Inc. in Belmond The Learning Center in Charles City These grants are estimated to provide North Iowa with over 200 new slots for child care. “Child care is at the foundation of economic development,” Flugge said.

pared with labor before you even open your doors. “I think the big thing we are trying to do is let people know that this is a consideration Boehmler before starting your business,” Boehmler said. “However, there’s ways of bringing on employees.” Boehmler said that businesses have to get creative in ways to attract new employees, as sometimes money isn’t the only reason someone will leave one job for another. “You have to have a good story for why someone should join your business,” Boehmler said. “You think a lot of people are willing to switch for just money, but a lot

of it is what is this business doing to make them a part of the team.” Frein, who started up his business several years ago partially with the help of the SBDC, agreed with that sentiment. “You have to know what you’re getting yourself into,” Frein said. “Research ahead of time, but also be prepared to be flexible, because things don’t always go to plan. ... The first two years of any small business are pretty rocky.” Looking ahead to the future it remains to be seen how long COVID will continue to impact businesses, but Frein thinks there may not be any going back. “I don’t think it’ll ever go back to where it was,” Frein said. “It makes things more difficult, but for now, it is what it is.”

Globe Gazette

Class absences Workforce shortages impact school districts ABBY KOCH

Globe Gazette‌

Schools have a wide array of individuals that help make a district run smoothly and educate youths. But because of the effects of the pandemic and the workforce shortage that followed, schools are finding applicant pools are shallow. “The biggest ones for us right now are para educators and substitute teachers,” said Clear Lake Superintendent Doug Gee. “The Gee para educator one is a challenge because of the pay. We’ve bumped them up more than we bumped up any other group.” Since the district has to compete against the higher pay of other businesses, Clear Lake and other districts push the benefits of working as a para, like having summers off. Substitute teachers is an issue of supply and demand. “There’s just a shortage of people that are out there to do subbing,” said Gee. Mason City School District Human Resource Director Tom Drzycimski has had similar issues. Drzycimski said the district has benefited from December college graduates who are now working as substitute teachers. At this moment, Drzycimski says hiring overall is in “decent shape.” “We’re still working to rebuild our sub pool. But we have people interested in substituting for us. The well isn’t completely dry,” he said. It’s a different story in Charles City. “We are just seeing a decrease in the amount of candidates applying for a position,” said Charles City Superintendent Mike Fisher. A particular struggle is finding special education teachers, made tougher since candidates have the upper hand and can be more selective than before.

To help fill the substitute teacher spots, districts are easing the requirements. Drzycimski said substitute positions have now opened to those without education backgrounds. “There’s also the big resignation going on too, and so people are seeing this as an opportunity because of the number of jobs that are open. It’s an opportune time to make a complete career change if you want to,” said Drzycimski. Gee said the number of people in a teaching programs in the state of Iowa is almost half of what it was 10 years ago. This makes it difficult to replace older teachers, who are retiring in droves. “Twice now in the last three years, (administrators have) had meetings on just this. How do we increase the people going into education and the teacher pool? Some of it is pay and some of it is, at its heart, it’s hard. Teaching is hard,” said Gee. Another issue for districts is competing with other companies increasing pay. School districts only receive so much from the state in terms of funding, which goes into staff salaries. “We don’t have the option of raising the costs of school to cover the cost of salary,” said Fisher. Small applicant pools hit smaller districts a little harder, even as larger districts are facing the same challenges. “Even now it is starting to filter into some of your Ankenys, your Waukees, your metro area schools that typically had not had a problem. It’s starting to filter into them,” said Gee. In the past, it was typical for school districts to list open positions in help wanted ads in local newspapers. Now, schools are getting creative, using social media and websites geared toward to education hiring. “I think unless we do something pretty major, it’s going to continue to get worse,” said Gee. Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at

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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |


ODD JOBS Mason City schools facilities chief shares tales of weird repairs

A collection of random items Mason City schools facilities supervisor Todd Huff has encountered in his years with the district.


Globe Gazette‌

Todd Huff has seen it all when it comes to repairing things. As the facilities supervisor for Mason City Community School District and previously at Marshalltown, Huff has had to fix the unexpected in order to keep schools functioning. Huff has not had a typical schedule for 22 years. The crux of Huff’s position is making sure functions of the school buildings are working smoothly. Huff and the custodial supervisor also do the upkeep on the Mason City Administration Building and maintain Lincoln Intermediate. On days with heavy snowfall, he and his staff work to make sure that kids walk through the doors safely. “At the beginning in the morning, we make sure the lights are on, the heat is on, and the sidewalks are shoveled,” Huff said. “I have a building automation system that I can log in, and it’s an extended architecture where I can look at my screen and I can see what each building is doing now.” That system can tell Huff about issues like a dirty air filter or a burned-up fan motor. Phones and email are the facilities team’s quickest way to relay a message about building issues. “What I do have a lot of time to do is making sure our guys are doing their thing and I can assist them and train them,” Huff said.


Mason City School District facilities supervisor Todd Huff holds a faulty fitting that led to significant water damage in one of the school buildings. “I’m still kind of old school with the paperwork thing for (work orders). But if there was water coming down a stairway somewhere, I’m on the phone. This is my work order — get over there quick, to our plumber — type of thing.” Some of the urgent fixes Huff has faced have been from simple mistakes or a buildup on an issue. Other repairs have been the result of kids being kids. “Elementary kids and high school kids seem to like to see how bad they can plug a toilet. That’s a biggie right there,” said Huff with a grin. Over the years, Huff has collected a wide array of trophies from the odd repairs. Most of these items can be seen on the bookcase behind his desk at the Mason City Administration Building. The bigger items are tucked away in cabinets. With each item, Huff can tell people about why it was an odd job for him. One particular prize is a section of pipe filled with concrete, a green hair tie sticking out of the rock. He acquired the oddity after the facilities crew found water coming up

into Lincoln Intermediate. They came to figure out that poured concrete had found its way into a pipe, causing water to go through a small crack between the pipe and the concrete. Huff and the facilities crew had to take a camera into the pipes to figure out the issue. “When you’re looking at the screen you’re like, ‘that looks like rock.’ Well it was concrete, and then here’s this little green thing doing this in the water because the water was very clear.

Anyway the unfortunate part of that was it was in the hallway where we have ceramic,” Huff explained. Huff’s collection also includes a baseball, which he received when someone parked to close to the fields. “That’s a 2006 BMW windshield right there,” Huff said, holding up the ball. Huff picked up a piece of chord, a large section of it worn down to exposed copper. The chord came from an old refrigerator that was in Madison Elementary.

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“We pulled it out and there was a little spark. ‘What was that?’ and then the breaker tripped,” said Huff. “We did some investigating and there it was. Underneath the refrigerator, the mice just really (ate through the wire).” Lincoln Intermediate once experienced a leak coming into the main lounge area. Thinking it was related to the drains, Huff opened up the ceiling and found the roof drain dry. Puzzled about where the water was coming from, Huff went up to the roof, where he found the answer to what caused the issue. Arrows shot into the roof. “There were holes this big around. You know when you turn a faucet on? That was about what it was like coming through the ceiling tile,” said Huff.

Huff said those who work outside of the facilities staff want to hear about the weird items he has had to repair. Whenever coworkers look at him with disbelief, he insists it’s a true story. People have told him he should display the more than 100 items he has collected from repairs over the years after he retires. Huff isn’t sure yet if he will. “The key to this job, I feel, is that you’ve got to think like a kid a lot of times,” Huff said. “When you’re building something, working on something, fixing something or whatever, you got to think about that.” Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at Abby.Koch@GlobeGazette. com

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Greetings from Greetings from

ST. ANSGAR  Downtown St. Ansgar.

 Riceville, Iowa in Mitchell County.



St. Ansgar Established:



Riceville Established:



St. Ansgar

(Incorporated in 1892)





Foothill Ave.

Cedar River



Mitchell County

Little Cedar River


Mitchell County



9 Wapsipinicon River


Employment rate:


9©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:


Average commute to work:

18.4 minutes


St. Ansgar is named for the patron saint of Scandinavia, a French Benedictine monk. The First Lutheran Church of St. Ansgar in town was founded in 1853 by Rev. Claus Lauritz Clausen who also named the town.©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

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Minneapolis/ St. Paul:

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Employment rate:


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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |


MCPD reimagines recruitment Chief, city overhauled application, testing process ZACHARY DUPONT

Globe Gazette‌

Just a few years ago, hiring new officers at the Mason City Police Department felt like a near impossible task to Police Chief Jeff Brinkley. That wasn’t always the case. “In the mid-’90s when you (a law enforcement department) posted a job you would have a couple hundred applicants. ... It was easy,” Brinkley said. “Just as time has gone on that interest has faded.” Over the last five years, Brinkley said, there’s been a decline in interest to work in law enforcement, and that decline was only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of the hundreds of applicants for open positions in years past, Brinkley said he was lucky to receive 20. It got to the point where MCPD was down 13 officers, and hiring efforts were largely unsuccessful. “We weren’t getting enough people at the top of the funnel to be able to shake it out and get good people at the bottom,” Brinkley said. “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results, and in law enforcement I think we fall victim to that often. ... We had to do something different.” Brinkley and the city of Mason City chose to rethink their approach to hiring in the police force. Brinkley worked with city officials to develop a new recruitment and hiring strategy to attract and retain quality candidates. “We went back through our whole hiring process from application to hire and all the things that happen in between,” Brinkley said. “We looked at those and asked, where can we cut time? Where can we make this more efficient?” The first major overhaul was allowing candidates to submit applications online instead of through the mail, making the application process easier for both the MCPD and potential applicants, as well as speeding up the process.


Officer Garth Wolff was hired by the MCPD in November following stints as an officer in Denison and Milford.

MCPD hiring stats The Mason City Police Department is now only five officers short of being fully staffed. The MCPD is capable of staffing 48 officers at any given time.

The department also drastically condensed the testing process for candidates. Originally, each section of testing took a full day. Under the new format, all testing is completed over one weekend. “For us, it was about tightening down the timeline, because the people who are applying here are applying at other agencies in the area,” Brinkley said.

“We’re competing who can get them first.” The first time the department used the new strategy it took it 66 days to hire new officers. “That was pretty remarkable,” Brinkley said. “That was a pretty fast timeline, and it worked. We got really good people.” The restructuring of the hiring process led to overwhelming success for the department last year, bringing in eight new officers. “Not many places are doing what we are doing right now,” Brinkley said. One person hired via the revamped recruitment and hiring process was officer Garth Wolff. Wolff was hired by the MCPD in November of 2021 following stints

as an officer in Denison and Milford. While looking to make the jump to a larger police department, Wolff said the efficiency of MCPD’s hiring process was key in his decision to take the position. “Mason City’s hiring process was a lot more in depth,” Wolff said. “Despite this, I was given an offer quickly which helped me make a decision.” Wolff said that in addition to the expedited hiring process, the opportunity to go for a ride along with a current officer and the expanded offerings of the MCPD, played a big factor in his choice to come to Mason City over other departments. And for both Wolff and the de-

partment, the process has been a success. “It’s been great so far,” Wolff said. Brinkley said MCPD is currently undergoing another recruitment period and, if successful, could lead to the department being fully staffed for the first time in years. “We’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Brinkley said. “We did it; we proved we can do it. ... We need to stay on this process to stay caught up.” Zachary Dupont covers politics and business development for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at 641-421-0533 or Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZachNDupont

Clear Lake recruiter fills employment gaps Avance USA brings workers to the US from Puerto Rico KAYLEE SCHEURMANN

Globe Gazette‌

Since January 2019, Avance USA in Clear Lake has brought in roughly 150 employees between Iowa, Illinois and North Carolina. Among the Iowa spots filled, many are were in North Central Iowa. Before starting her business, founder and president Jennifer Andrade worked as an economic developer. During her time in this role, she realized the region’s unemployment had hit record lows


and that local employers were losing faith in recruitment. Andrade felt confident in her abilities to market the area to and Andrade boost the local workforce, so she founded Avance USA, a full-service domestic recruitment and relocation company. Avance aims to recruit and retain employees in the area, focusing solely on filling permanent, full-time jobs. Many of the candidates the business works with are from Puerto Rico. “I knew that there were people

there that were looking for opportunities and really the American dream,” said Andrade. ... “Some people don’t believe it exists anymore, but it does for somebody who is willing to take a chance and wants to work hard to build a new life for themselves and their family.” Andrade is well aware of the cultural differences between Iowa and Puerto Rico, so her company helps clients through the entire employment and relocation process. In her recruitment presentations, Andrade touts the benefits of North Central Iowa, including “having a great public education, lower cost of living than larger cities, lower crime rates and plenty of


job opportunities.” Avance USA facilitates employers’ required screenings and assists with the application and interview process. Most of Andrade’s team is bilingual to facilitate language translation. Once a job offer is accepted, Avance USA gets started on the relocation process, including finding and assisting with housing, transportation and education. Andrade said Avance USA works to offer “a new life in 30 days,” which is about how long the relocation period takes after a job acceptance. “When you can give people a good experience, they come, they like their job, they like their com-

munity, they see that they have a better life here than the one they left behind, and they are going to share that,” said Andrade, noting one family referred six new families to the area through Avance USA. Avance USA is contracted with 12 companies in North Central Iowa to help fill open positions. The business brought in more than 85 people to Iowa in the last 18 months. Andrade noted some of these families have bought homes in the area and further grew their families. “The community support has really been key in the success of being able to relocate that many people to the area and help them feel welcome,” said Andrade.

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| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Student outreach essential in North Iowa Conversations with students essential for businesses NORTH IOWA CORRIDOR

Conversations between students and businesses are essential for the region’s future, according to Hunter Callanan of the North Iowa Corridor EDC. “It’s important to retain talent in North Iowa,” Callanan says. “This investment won’t help hiring woes now, but if we don’t impact students, we miss that chance to connect with them so they know the opportunities here.” As workforce specialist at the Corridor, Callanan works with schools and business leaders to make these conversations possible. It’s also important to help schools offer opportunities for young people to identify their interests and build skills. Activities include job readiness and interest inventories, presentations by employees of local companies, visits to actual business sites, job shadowing, and more. For instance, a Discover Day program held in past years at North Iowa Area Community

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College gave students the chance to identify their interests and traits and pairs them with different careers in North Iowa that Callanan fit their individual profiles. The Corridor lines up employees of local businesses to come talk with students about their jobs and how students can prepare themselves for that work. It’s a way for young people to find out that opportunities exist right here, if they wish to stay or come back after further education. The past two years have been challenging for maintaining many of these outreach programs, according to Callanan. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented large gatherings, and presenters from local businesses are often too busy due to staffing shortages. To be flexible, virtual options have been used to make these connections, such as mock interviews online. This alternate platform presents its own advantages for learning. “It’s a time-saver to conduct virtual interviews, and a lot of

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business people are utilizing that now,” Callanan says. “It’s a new twist on things students will have to prepare for.” Callanan points out virtual interviews require different skills. “It takes a higher level of energy to project yourself virtually. It’s all-around harder to portray yourself when on screen. The interviewer can’t see your body language. It takes more elaboration of answers. Facial expressions come across differently on screen than in person.” The responsibility for career readiness does not rest solely on schools. Callanan emphasizes to businesses that it’s in their best interests to talk to young people in our schools. Getting involved in NIC’s outreach to students at all grade levels is an important way for local companies to guarantee success in the future. North Iowa is not alone in the U.S. with the problem of finding enough workers to fill positions. Callanan says, “It’s more important than ever that businesses interact with schools and help students see how their decisions now impact their lives posthigh school. It’s a strategy in retaining our population. The key is exposing them to opportunities in North Iowa.”

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Globe Gazette

Want to make a career change? what resonates to you. “Take a manageable, brave leap Ever found yourself wondering of faith, which is scary, but often if you should go down a new career necessary to open new doors in path? In recent years, more people your career,” writes Liu. have become willing to take a step away from their job and jump head What if I’m not sure? What if I’m first into something new. afraid? Making a radical career change Caroline Ceniza-Levine writes can be a daunting journey, especially for Ellevate Network that people for those who have been in a partic- should fight the fear of making a ular field for a long time. To stand at radical career change. Swap it with the edge of a new frontier and take a the fear of regretting never trying. step forward takes courage. Ceniza-Levine recommends Where do you begin? How long playing out criticism and indulging does it take? How will you know if in the worst-case scenarios. “When this unknown path is a good one you come back to career changes for you? Here’s some advice from you want to implement, you will the experts: be a more flexible, resilient person overall and better able to now incorHow long until I find what I want porate changes,” she writes. to do next? Commit to the fact that finding What about the naysayers a new career is a marathon, not a around me? sprint. It can be years before you There will be people who quesfind your footing in a new career, tion your choice. Ceniza-Levine writes Joseph Liu for Forbes. says when you decide to radically Liu notes that when you quit, change careers, “don’t tell haters the time after is for you to figure or wet blankets.” Instead, find out what you want to do next. your cheerleaders. Richard Alderson, author of “Expect plenty of advice – usu“How to Change Careers When ally the discouraging kind – from You’ve Got No Idea What to Do friends and family when they Next” advises workers to “act it out, learn that you’re exploring a cadon’t figure it out.” Alderson rec- reer change,” writes Vicky Oliver ommends enrolling in courses and for Lifehack. job shadowing positions you have Liu says a career change will curiosity in. Doing so removes the mean finding people outside of guesswork. Commit to the idea that the circles that you have built. “Alyou might have to return to school. though it may feel unnatural, make Liu says to reserve judgment the effort to surround yourself with during the exploration period. people aligned with your desired Cast a wide net, dispel precon- future rather than only those from ceived notions, and understand your past,” writes Liu. ABBY KOCH

Globe Gazette‌

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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |


Program steers students toward teaching GRACE KING

The Gazette‌

IOWA CITY (AP) — Iowa City schools are “planting the seed” in students who might be interested in becoming teachers and promising them a job with the district — if one is available — after graduation from the University of Iowa. The program, which is launching this spring, aims to support students interested in teaching careers, especially students of color. It’s the next step in the district’s Grow Our Own program, a part of its diversity, equity and inclusion plan. This past fall, the district launched a two-year fellowship for educators interested in leadership positions in an effort to retain more underrepresented teachers, administrators and staff. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that district officials hope a similar program for students will help attract them back to the district, where they could help diversify the teaching staff. About 7 percent of teachers in the Iowa City Community School District are people of color, while 43 percent of the students are young people of color. Carmen Gwenigale, district leadership fellow with the Grow Our Own program and former Spanish teacher at Liberty High School, said she hopes the program will guide students “to their passion,” whether that’s being a teacher, school counselor or


Carmen Gwenigale, middle right, and Alexei Lalagos, back right, Liberty students about the Iowa City Community School District’s Grow Our Own program at Liberty High School in North Liberty, Iowa on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. The program aims to encourage and assist students in becoming educators and offers placement in a job in the district if one is available upon a student’s college graduation. school administrator. A student who loves cooking, she said, might be interested in being a culinary arts teacher and someday pass along that skill to future generations. A career interest survey of the district’s high school students showed more than 100 were in-

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terested in becoming teachers. Students with that interest began meeting with program leaders this week. Amira Nash, associate director of partnerships and programs at the University of Iowa College of Education, and Alexei Lalagos, leadership fellow with the Grow

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Our Own program at Liberty High School, are hoping at least half of those students get invested in the program this spring. Next year, the program will expand to all high school students. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in education can meet weekly with a teacher spon-

sor at their school. If students decide teaching isn’t for them, they still gain skills that can help them in whatever career they choose, Gwenigale said. Many students — especially first-generation college students — aren’t sure how to pursue higher education, Gwenigale said. “If you’ve never had someone in your family go through the process of applying to college, it can seem really overwhelming,” said Nash, who will work with the students once they are at the University of Iowa. The students will be helped with their college application and given advice on financial aid and grant opportunities. Once on campus, they’ll be informed about resources that provide academic help and mental health support. The district is working with Educators Rising, a curriculum for students to learn about the profession and explore career opportunities, develop skills they need and make informed decisions about pathways to becoming a teacher. Students will be encouraged to enroll in Kirkwood Community College’s Education Academy to earn free college credit while they’re in high school and to explore their career interest. Upon graduating from the UI, students are guaranteed a position in the Iowa City Community School District if there is an opening.

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Place your Classified ad in the Globe Gazette Classifieds. Call: 423-2274



| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette

Pathway to a career HCC program offers training to those in correctional system ANDREW WIND‌

Eric Grove has some background in construction and industrial maintenance. But for 3-1/2 years, he worked a “menial job” with limited pay building pallets. “I wasn’t using my skills, and the skills I had were rusty. My self confidence wasn’t there to apply for a job,” said Grove. That changed through his involvement in Pathways to Education and Employment for Reentry, a new program of Waterloo’s Hawkeye Community College and the First Judicial District. Grove, a 37-year-old Evansdale native, learned about education and career services available to him after PEER Coordinator Belle Fleischhack visited the Junkman/Knoebel Center, where he has lived for nearly a year. The center is a transitional housing unit for people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. “Belle reached out and made it sound like something I was capable of doing,” he said of the program’s services, focused on shortterm training for high-demand jobs. Grove ended up enrolling in a two-month advanced manufacturing course operated by the college. He received hands-on training in a lab at TechWorks through IGNITE: Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing, finishing the course Dec. 10. “When I completed the program, it definitely felt like I’d accomplished something,” he said. Interview opportunities came up quickly at two companies. “Going into the interviews for both places, I felt like I knew what I was talking about,” Grove said of his new-found confidence. “I had two job offers within that week.” Early this year, he started a job driving a forklift at Viking Pump. The new position has meant greatly improved pay, benefits and work environment. PEER assists people involved with Black Hawk County Correctional Services in a variety of ways, depending on their need. Educational counseling, career exploration, job readiness and hands-on training, and resource referrals are available. Participants are in the Black Hawk County Jail, the First Judicial District’s Waterloo Residential Correctional Facility or the Waterloo Women’s Center for Change, or involved in the parole system living in the community. Since starting in May, Fleischhack said the program has connected with 59 people in jail, providing resume workshops as well as training to earn a certification in forklift driving and a commercial vehicle learner’s permit. They can continue with training through the program upon release or go into the workforce. “Overall, there’s close to 90 or 100 individuals that we’ve worked with so far,” she noted, both in and out jail. Twenty people have enrolled in or completed training programs. Participants receive services and training at no cost to them, thanks to available grants and scholarships. Like Grove, “a lot of the individuals, they have a job,” said Michelle Clark, a career pathway navigator at Hawkeye. “We’re helping them acquire a job that is sustainable, a job they want to do versus a job they have to do.” Program organizers contend PEER could have a big impact on crime while de-

veloping a new workforce pipeline for business and industry in the Cedar Valley. “You can cut the recidivism in half, statistically,” said Chris Hannon, Hawkeye’s director of workforce training and community development. According to a study by the Vera Institute of Justice, people in prison who participate in job training programs are 48% less likely to reoffend than those who don’t. “That’s why the First District is going to put all of its support around this,” said Ken Kolthoff, director of the First Judicial District. “Hawkeye Community College’s investment and interest in wanting to work with these people is just tremendous.” “Ken and I have been working on this for about five years, and we finally were able to implement it in May,” said Hannon. They had support from Hawkeye President Todd Holcomb for the endeavor, as well as “the right people at the right time” to get the program off the ground. “Everything just came together at the right time.” Now program staff are working hard to get the word out about the services they provide. Jesse Rousch, jail diversion social worker, noted


Eric Grove received a job offer after the Pathways to Education and Employment for Reentry program got him into a career training course through Hawkeye Community College. PEER works with people who have been involved with the Black Hawk County Correctional Services. that “quite a bit of our population” does not have a high school diploma or any post-high school education. Still, “for a big portion of our population, they don’t realize these opportunities are there and they’re eligible for it.” In IGNITE, Grove went through manufacturing modules such as robotics, computer-aided design, hydraulics, pneumatics,

programmable logic control, computer numerical control machining and electrical. “You get a certificate for completing the program and then a certificate for mathematics,” he said. “The robotics and CNC was completely new to me. “My current employer said me going through that course was a factor in bringing me on,” added Grove. Driving

a forklift is going well, “but after I get out of my probationary period (at Viking) I plan on bidding on CNC or some type of machine.” While there is some onthe-job training, he expects more Hawkeye career courses to be in his future. “I’ll be going back and doing more with CNC, kind of get a better understanding of that,” he said.

Fleischhack said not everybody who has been involved with the program has moved on to a job yet, like Grove. But plenty of people are in the pipeline. “We will serve over 120 in the first year,” she noted. For more information about PEER, call (319) 2964296, extension 3103, or email

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An attendee looks at a John Deere automated tractor at the John Deere booth during the CES tech show Jan. 5 in Las Vegas. With farms lacking enough workers, farmers are turning to machines to fill the need and reduce the number of employees needed on a farm.

DOWN ON THE FARM Farmers in North Iowa trying to find solutions to dire labor shortage



Globe Gazette‌

he labor shortage has impacted industries across the United States as businesses continue to struggle filling vacancies. No industry, though, has been hit harder than farming and agriculture. According to Kevin Pope, a Mason City farmer, there was already a struggle in the industry to bring new workers into the field prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the pandemic and following nationwide labor shortage has made a problem that already existed exponentially worse.

“This issue has affected ag a long time before it affected anyone else,” Pope said. “That shortage has been around for years and years.” “Over the last two years it (labor) seems to have been really, really short,” Ed Greiman, a feedlot owner from Garner, said. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, on the final work day of December there were 10.9 million job openings across the country, a number “little changed” from November. The bureau also reports that the 6.3 million hires in the month of December was a 333,000 decrease from the month of November.

A reason for the lack of employees coming through the door, according to Pope, is that the agriculture industry is something people are often born into, and it’s difficult to attract people from outside the industry to take a farm job. “Every year there’s less and less farm kids, and that labor pool keeps getting smaller and smaller,” Pope said. “That makes it pretty tough.” Pope said that the lack of people looking for employment has not only made hiring new employees on farms more difficult, it has also made retaining good employees more difficult as the Please see FARM, Page H2

Farmland value at all-time high ZACHARY DUPONT

Globe Gazette‌

The value of Iowa farmland is at an all-time high, but is that positive for local farmers? In 2021, the average value per acre of farmland in Iowa hit $9,751, up 29% and over $2,000 from the mark of $7,559 per acre in 2020, according to a farmland value survey conducted by Iowa State University. The jump from 2020 to 2021 is the biggest percent increase in valua-

tion since 2011, and the second-largest over the past 40 years. Sam Funk, an economist with the Iowa Farm Bureau Association, said thevaluations are up in part due to an increase in price in commodities that Iowa farmland is generally good at exporting, such as soy beans and corn. Additionally, Funk cites government payments to farmers and an ability of buyers to spend more money on land in the past year. “You have a number of factors con-

tributing to this,” he said. “There’s not one particular driver but a number of things coming together to create this.” Funk points to investor interest in farmland as a key contributor as well, with interest spiking from investors recently. “They’re looking for high-quality farmland to purchase because it is a distinct investment tool for them,” Funk said. “They’ll be able to capitalize on that long into the future; that’s more

Farm workers Farm labor hires has seen a recent uptick in 2021 compared to 2020. According to the Farm Labor survey published in November 2021 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there was a 2% increase in workers hired directly by farm operators in October 2021 compared to October 2020. The survey also reports a 3% increase in July 2021 compared to July 2020.

With it comes pros and cons for farmers in North Iowa stable than some markets that maybe aren’t as productive.” Local farmer Chris Petersen said the spike in farmland value isn’t necessarily a good thing. He and Funk expressed concerns that the rising cost of farmland could lead to younger farmers being unable to afford to enter the industry, leaving only outside investors able to afford the extraordinary costs. Please see VALUE, Page H2


Robot farm Self-driving Deere tractors to be made in Waterloo 00 1


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| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Self-driving Deere tractors to be made in Waterloo PAT KINNEY

For The Globe Gazette‌

John Deere will begin producing a self-propelled, driverless “autonomous” tractor in Waterloo before the end of 2022, company officials have confirmed. Deere officials unveiled the tractor at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The vehicle will be part of the company’s “8R” tractor series, which is made in Waterloo. “We can confirm that the tractor will be made in Waterloo with limited availability this year,” said Kelly Henderson, a spokesperson at Deere’s Waterloo operations. The head of a local economic development organization welcomed the news. “We couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Cary Darrah, executive director of Grow Cedar Valley. “And it’s not surprising, since Deere’s always been on the cutting edge. We will work with Deere and other manufacturers to help prepare a workforce to help with these visions, and these successes.” She also said the new product should benefit Deere’s local suppliers. Deere officials at the Las Vegas show indicated the development is as historically significant to the company and the industry as when company namesake John Deere himself inventing the self-cleaning steelcast plow 165 years ago in 1837; and when Deere entered the tractor business in 1918 with its acquisition of the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Co. in Waterloo, manufacturers of the famous “Waterloo Boy” two-cylinder tractor. The company has been adding automated improvements to its machinery for 20 years, including its GreenStar global positioning system technology and its AutoTrac assisted steering system. In August, Deere announced it had acquired the four-year-old Silicon Valley company Bear Flag Robotics, a software firm based in Newark, Calif., for $250 million. At the time of that acquisition, Bear Flag Robotics hailed itself as being “committed to developing the most advanced autonomous tractors possible.” The firm said it became involved with Deere in 2019 in Deere’s “startup collaborator” program, enabling Deere “to deepen its connection with startup companies whose technology has the potential to add value for their customers. “Since the completion of the program, we have successfully


Attendees look at a John Deere automated tractor at the John Deere booth during the CES tech show Jan. 5 in Las Vegas. deployed autonomous tractors solutions at multiple farms across the United States,” Bear Flag Robotics officials said. Pilot experiments with autonomous tractors could be seen in some farm fields in Northeast Iowa in recent years. “The autonomous tractor serves a specific purpose: feeding the world,” Deere officials said at the Las Vegas unveiling. “The global population is expected to grow from about 8 billion to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, increasing the global food demand by 50 percent. Furthermore, farmers must feed this growing population with less available land and skilled labor,” in addition to perennial challenges like climate changes and pest control. “To use the autonomous tractor, farmers only need to transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous operation,” Deere officials said. “Using John Deere Operations Center Mobile,” a computer application downloaded to a phone, tablet or other computerized mobile device, “they can swipe from left to right to start the machine. “The autonomous tractor has six pairs of stereo cameras, which enables 360-degree obstacle detection and the calculation of distance … ensuring it is operating where it is supposed to, and is within less than an inch of accuracy,” the Deere announcement explained. Camera images are projected through a “neural network,” a computer system that operates similar to the human brain and its nervous system. “While the machine is working, the farmer can leave the field

to focus on other tasks, while monitoring the machine’s status from their mobile device,” company officials said. The several facilities making up Deere’s Waterloo operations constitute the Moline, Ill., company’s largest manufacturing complex in North America. The company’s large row-crop tractors are made here. Additionally, Deere’s Product Engineering Center in Cedar Falls is the hub of the company’s new product research and development efforts. Deere employs about 5,000 people in Waterloo and has been hiring since late 2020, advertising for manufacturing and other positions and conducting a series of job fairs. It is the Cedar Valley’s and Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer. Over the past couple of years, Deere reconfigured its assembly operations and was able to roll out a new 8R tractor product line here in 2020 — with extensive precautions in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic — to strong product acceptance and ongoing heightened market demand. The company is coming off a record earnings year and is predicting another for 2022. Grow Cedar Valley works closely with local schools and postsecondary institutions on workforce development. Darrah indicated the new autonomous tractor should generate interest for prospective workers to get the training they need to produce such products. “We’re committed to helping relay this information and these opportunities to the workforce that we will need to get it done,” she said.

Globe Gazette

Farm From H1

competition has increased as the number of workers decreases. Due to the lack of workforce, Pope said, farmers across Iowa are having to work longer and longer hours to keep up with the workload required to harvest crops during the peak farming seasons. It also extends the timeline of how long it takes for a farm to do tasks; something that may have taken an hour with a full staff could take several hours due to the lack of employees to get the work done. One of those struggling is Greiman, who said he is currently “very short-handed” at his feedlot. “I would say in 2020 is when it was the worse,” Greiman said. “It’s gotten better in 2021 ... but still, it’s been a problem Even at Pope’s farm, where he said he’s been lucky to not have experienced the labor shortage too severely, he still has struggled to find part-time help throughout the pandemic. Those problems even extend off the lot, according to Greiman. He struggles to find workers like truck drivers to take product to and from his farm. As a result, the cost of hiring a truck driver for a job has noticeably increased. “Our rates to the West Coast and to the East Coast have almost doubled over the last year,” Greiman said. With no end to the shortage of workers in sight, Pope does not anticipate the situation in agricul-


Farmland sales

From H1

“We’re going to see less and less small, family farms, I think,” Petersen said. ... “I’m one of those that don’t see many positives in the price of farmland going higher. Big is not better ... and farms are getting bigger.” “When you think about young or beginning farmers, they may struggle to pay the cost of land,” Funk said. “It’s harder to get into it without having some sort of financial backing.” An additional concern is the rising costs of fertilizer and energy, Funk said. “This is an extreme challenge for farmers in the state of Iowa right now,” he noted. “This is going to potentially be a year of great challenges, or great opportunities.” But Funk did point to other nuances. For example, a young farmer looking to buy land may struggle, but a farmer looking to sell land is currently in a great situation.

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ture improving in the near future. “It’s going to continue to get worse,” Pope said. “No doubt.” One of the biggest impacts of the decreasing workforce is that farming — and agriculture in general — is becoming more and more automated. With farms lacking the proper people to get tasks done, farmers are turning to machines to fill the need and reduce the number of employees needed on a farm. “That (the labor shortage) is why you’re continuously seeing larger equipment on the farm,” Pope said. “We’re not going to be able to fix the labor problem, so we have to find alternate ways to still get the work done.” Pope projects that over the next few years more and more farmers will turn to autonomous machines to replace the lack of workers. “It’s inevitable,” Pope said. The sentiment is shared by Greiman, who says that spending several thousand dollars on equipment to replace even one position is worth it. “Somebody might bring me a proposal of something that will cost $50,000 and say ‘oh you’re probably not going to approve that,’” Greiman said. “But if it replaces even one job I absolutely will.” Greiman said the reason for this is that the combination of increasing difficulty in finding labor and increases in the cost of labor in general make a one-time purchase of $50,000 or more the obvious choice. But regardless of the direction of farm labor, Pope has confidence in the industry staying afloat. “We’ll be all right,” Pope said.

According to Iowa State University’s farmland value survey, 74% of respondents reported more sales in 2021 than in 2020. The survey notes that is the highest mark since it began recording that information in 1986. “It really comes down to who you are. Every farmer needs to know their situation before making any decisions,” he said. Also, current world events play a role. If Russia and Ukraine go to war, corn prices could go up because Ukraine is among the top five countries to export corn. Then again, corn prices might go down because a largescale war could impact international trade. And if corn prices increase or decrease, the value of farmland in Iowa could potentially follow suit. “Not much we can do (to impact the price),” Petersen said. “It’s out of our hands.”

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m o r f s g n i t e e r G


SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022 |

Greetings from

NORA SPRINGS  Manly Library at the corner of Grant and Main streets.





 Highway 122 West in Nora Springs.

Nora Springs







(Incorporated in 1875)










1,369 Mason City

Clear Lake

Employment rate:


65 18©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:

Distance to:



Average commute to work:

19.4 minutes

Des Moines:

Employment rate:©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:


Minneapolis/ St. Paul:

128 miles, 2 hours and 6 minutes 

Mason City:

10 miles, 16 minutes



131 miles, 2 hours

The Burlington/Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad joined the Central of Iowa track with its own track from Plymouth Junction in 1877 and named Manly Junction after Central of Iowa’s freight agent, J.C. Manly.

Nora Springs

Mason City

Average commute to work:

21.8 minutes


Distance to:

 Des Moines: 130 miles, 2 hours Edward P. Greeley was  Minneapolis/ persuaded by Edson Gaylord in St. Paul: 1857 to come to Woodstock, now 150 miles, Nora Springs. Greeley promised to buy and improve the mill, build a big 2 hours and 51 minutes store, and buy 20 acres of land from Gaylord, if the name of the town was  Mason City: changed from Woodstock to Elnora. 10.2 miles, 17 minutes Gaylord suggested the name Springs. They compromised with Nora Springs.

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Multi-Media Your Way




| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette


Iveth and Jorge take ESL classes at La Luz Centro Cultural.

Lighting the way in Hampton La Luz prepares Latinx community for the workforce

Bilingualism in immigrants Nationally, 67% of immigrants with an education less than a high school diploma do not speak English at all, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.


Globe Gazette ‌

In Hampton, a community organization is leaning into preparing the Latino community for the workforce. La Luz Centro Cultural has a legal department, education classes, a food pantry, translators and interpreters, as well as the SOMOS Latinx project and Gran Festival North Iowa. All of these programs work to “promote cultural awareness and diversity with hospitality and supportive services for all,” according to the organization’s mission statement. “A lot of immigrants don’t get past elementary school (in their native county). And so they move up here not knowing what’s going on, not knowing how to do things. And then their children don’t know what to do or how to do things either. And so they’re

trying to bring up their children and not knowing how the United States works and not knowing how the school system works or anything like that,” said Kyle Whalen, La Luz associate director. Whalen said the community center works to help immigrants who don’t speak English to become literate, as well as offering services for citizenship, group therapy and counseling and connect with other programs to help offset costs of living. “We just make sure that the community knows that we’re here to support whoever needs support.”

In the past, La Luz has worked to get community members ready for the workforce but hadn’t worked to directly link workers with available jobs. In December 2021, a grant that included 50 Google Career Certificates gave the organization the opportunity to provide the Latinx community with work. The self-paced, online training program prepares participants for careers in the high-growth fields of project management, user experience design, data analytics, and IT support. With under 10 hours of study per week, it takes about six months to graduate with a Google Career Certificate. This program connects graduates with more than 130 top U.S. employers. Whalen has high hopes for the program in Hampton, and expects to branch out into other communities. “The more (people) we can invite the more we can complete, the more scholarships we can get,” Whalen said. Future scholarships are based on rate of completion, so there’s

a need for participants to follow through. La Luz plans to offer the scholarship locally first, with no scholarship requirements other than the time it takes to complete. If somebody begins the course but cannot finish, they simply need to drop the course and the certificate will remain valid for the next user. Applications are open for the Google Career Certificates at La Luz offers computer access for community members without Wi-Fi or a computer of their own. Currently, there are 12 computers in their lobby, but Whalen said La Luz is working with other organizations to add to their stock. The computers are used for a number of programs, and ESL participants like Iveth and Jorge, who requested only their first names be used, use the computers regularly. After purchasing a new building in 2019, La Luz has been steadily undergoing renovations to make its new building a welcoming space for the people they serve.

La Luz also is expanding its workforce to accommodate the expansion of programs they’ve taken on. A program and public relations coordinator is needed to take charge of the new programs, maintain existing ones, and help prospective programs launch in the near future. The center is launching programs for children, including a mentoring and tutoring service and a literacy program for infants through 5-year-olds. La Luz is also looking to expand its ESL classes, which are Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Plans are in the works to add classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for beginners. “We do whatever we can to make sure that the Latinos are getting served around here,” Whalen said. Gretchen Burnette is a Weeklies Editor and Daily Reporter at the Globe Gazette. You can reach her by phone at 641.421.0523 or at Gretchen.Burnette@GlobeGazette. com

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Greetings from

Greetings from



 Franklin County Courthouse in downtown Hampton.


SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022 |



 Northwood Theatre on Central Avenue. LISA GROUETTE, GLOBE GAZETTE







65 Beed’s Lake State Park


(Incorporated in 1875)







4,337 Franklin County

Employment rate:







Employment rate:


60.4%©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:


Median household income:

Distance to: ©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Des Moines: 95 miles,


Distance to: 

1.5 hours


Average commute to work:

15 minutes

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The town was originally named Benjamin. Once it became the county seat, the name was changed to avoid confusion with another town of the same name in Iowa.

2 hours and 7 minutes

Minneapolis/ St. Paul: 166 miles, about 2 hours and 38 minutes 

Mason City:

29 miles, 39 minutes

Des Moines: 141 miles, 


Average commute to work:

21.1 minutes

Rumored to be a distinction between a northern wooded area and a southern wooded area along the Shell Rock River in the 1800s.

Minneapolis/ St. Paul: 112 miles, 1 hour and 2 minutes 

Mason City:

20.4 miles, about half an hour



| SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022




mentions KATHLEEN FURORE | Tribune

or reserve a table for them “It doesn’t have to be and their family at the best anything custom — you he amount of a pay- Italian restaurant in town.” could just use an existing check is obviously one company-wide Yammer draw that impacts job Play games or Teams feed. I find that 3 satisfaction. But more and “Gamification” is the recognizing employees in more, employees are seek- approach Phil Strazzulla, a public forum goes much ing more — they want to feel founder of Select Software further than something in valued. Reviews, says keeps em- just their individual team. According to a recent ployees engaged while maksurvey from Quality Logo ing them feel valued. 5 Introduce Products, 58% of American “For instance, certain opportunities workers say it’s extremely tasks could be assigned point important to feel valued at values, which each employee for growth If the person who deserves work, and nearly half of re- would receive upon complespondents said they’ve con- tion of said task,” Strazzulla recognition is also someone sidered quitting a job due to says. “These points can then who deserves more opporlack of recognition. be redeemed for anything tunities for career advanceThat means recognition ranging from work-from- ment, Hocking suggests exhas become an essential home days to a fully paid tending an invitation to talk ingredient in the recipe for gym membership. It’s a great about their career goals or to retaining workers. What are strategy to keep the morale connect them to someone in some creative ways manag- high and make employees your network for a mentoring conversation. ers can make each of their feel like they matter.” “In the virtual world, you employees feel valued on can easily invite the person the job? Industry experts Run an ‘internal to attend a high-level meetthat I reached out to offered 4 props’ portal ing with you to learn about a some advice. Dragos Badea, CEO at Ya- new area,” she says. “Employee recognition is important for employee rooms, says this is a favorite retention. However, how a way that he shows recogniKathleen Furore is a Chicagomanager provides recogni- tion. based writer and editor who “Create an internal systion can either help or hurt has covered personal finance tem that allows managers retention,” says Jodi Brandand other business-related stetter, CEO of Lean Effec- and employees to give a topics for a variety of trade shout-out to each other for tive Talent Strategies. and consumer publications. According to Brandstetter, a job well done,” Badea says. managers should consider three things when creating a recognition program:  How to recognize employees: “Everyone is different in how they want to be recognized,” she says. “Not all employees want to be recognized publicly. You have to make the effort to get to know your team.... Before you recognize, ask your employees how they want to be recognized.”  How often to recognize them: Brandstetter’s advice: Don’t overdo it. “If you over-recognize, your employees will become numb to the recognition,” she says.  Who can offer recognition: While the Quality Logo Products survey shows that employees prefer to be recognized by leadership (49%) or direct management (43%), Brandstetter suggests opening the opportunity to everyone. “Getting recognition from Charles City's Area Development Corporation the boss is great, but so is getting recognized by your peers,” she says. “Make sure you give the team the ability to recognize each other.” Recognition can come in many forms; here are five approaches business executives suggest: Content Agency


5 approaches to recognizing employees and showing appreciation

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is here to help you realize economic success.

1 Communicate via video

“My favorite, simple way to show gratitude is (with) a personalized video message via text,” says Shanna Hocking, principal of Hocking Leadership and host of the career development podcast “One Bold Move a Day.” “In addition to the message itself, it also shows an investment of your time,” she says. “I like to use this for when employees reach a milestone, celebrate progress or get promoted.”

2 Personalize rewards

David Bitton, co-founder and CMO of DoorLoop, calls this “an excellent method to demonstrate to employees that you appreciate them and that they are valued employees.” It shows that you’re interested in each individual’s specific hobbies and interests, he says. “For example, if an employee’s birthday is approaching, consider interviewing their co-workers to find out what they’re most interested in and what they would likely appreciate as a gift,” he suggests. “Assume, for example, that they adore Italian food. Instead of a generic birthday card and cake, give them a voucher for an Italian cooking class



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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |


Essential workers might get a raise in some states GOP, Democratic governors pushing for higher pay SOPHIE QUINTON‌

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Both Republican and Democratic governors are pushing this year for higher pay — and in some cases, more training — for teachers, police officers, health care workers and other professionals who’ve proved essential during the coronavirus pandemic. They’re framing their proposals both as a “thank you” to front-line workers and as an effort to recruit and retain them during a tight labor market. And because of a booming economy and federal COVID-19 relief aid, governors have plenty of money to spend. “Right now we don’t have to choose — we are able to be fiscally responsible while making record investments in our people and in our future,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said during his budget address this month. He’s proposed giving all state employees a 5% raise and spending $400 million on what he called “hero” bonuses for essential workers such as nurses, grocery store clerks and bus drivers. Yet despite general bipartisan support among governors for pay increases, Republican and Democratic lawmakers don’t always agree on who should get a raise or bonus and how much money should be spent on the incentives. In Kentucky, for example, the Republican-controlled House last week passed a proposed budget that would increase state worker pay by 6% (which Beshear has said he supports) but wouldn’t give teachers a mandatory raise (which Beshear wants), instead allowing districts to choose whether to offer raises. Nor did it include the governor’s proposed bonuses for other essential workers. Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican, said lawmakers would rather send more money to school districts and let them choose how to spend it. Lawmakers could be open to the essential worker bonuses, he said, if they are more narrowly aimed at workers who face a high risk of COVID-19 exposure on the job. “That’s where I think everyone is in somewhat of agreement,” he said. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of front-line workers, particularly in caring professions. Short-term staffing problems because of illnesses and quarantine rules have left hospitals straining to serve patients, schools struggling to teach children, and working parents scrambling to find child care. Such critical jobs are harder to fill than ever. Right now, there are more open jobs in the United States than there are unemployed people looking for work. Fewer people have immigrated to the U.S. in recent years, more people are retiring, and workers are quitting at record-high rates. There are several reasons for the resignations, economists say. Some workers are quitting because they’re burned out by the pandemic or because they can’t find child care. And with so many employers increasing pay and benefits to attract candidates, workers can more easily jump to a less stressful or more lucrative position. Lawmakers know the public sector must adapt. “We’re going to have to be competitive with the private sector, and we know that,” Stivers said of state government jobs. “We know that to attract the talent we want,

we have to change our pay scales.” Politics also shapes pay increase proposals, however. For instance, some GOP governors want to give raises to law enforcement officers as a sign of support for an institution they say is under attack from the left. Some liberals have been calling for cuts to police funding, arguing that transferring some of that money to social services would do more to curb crime. “As long as I’m governor, Georgia will always back the blue,” Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said during his state of the state address this month. Kemp, who’s up for reelection this year, has proposed $5,000 pay raises for state employees, including law enforcement, and $2,000 raises for teachers. Beshear’s budget and the House Republican budget both propose a $15,000 raise for state police officers and an $8,000 pay increase for state police dispatchers. Beshear is up for reelection next year. Political concerns also could have influenced his proposal, said Jason Bailey, executive director of the left-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. “Probably there’s the role of some of this rhetoric around ‘defund the police’ that he doesn’t want to be associated with,” Bailey said of the governor.

The great resignation‌

Quit rates in fields such as education, health care and government are rising, as they are in other industries. “You can see people moving out of teaching, and fewer teachers being hired,” said Brad Hershbein, senior economist and deputy director of research at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a nonpartisan research organization based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “And this also seems to be the case for health care workers — nurses in particular.” States employ about 5% fewer people in total than they did when the pandemic hit, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hospitals employ about 2% fewer people today than they did in March 2020. COVID-19 has made many front-line jobs more stressful, worker advocates say. People in essential jobs run a higher risk of getting sick and of infecting their families. Teachers have spent the past two years ping-ponging from online to in-person to hybrid instruction. Nurses are dealing with patients and families who are angry about mask rules or long waits in emergency rooms. Vaccination mandates have pushed out some workers who don’t want to get COVID-19 shots. And as more people quit, pressure mounts on their colleagues to pick up the slack — making already tough jobs even tougher. “We had staffing shortages prior to COVID, and COVID has just exacerbated that,” said Delanor Manson, chief executive officer of the Kentucky Nurses Association, a professional group based in Louisville. Nurses are exhausted, feeling unappreciated and leaving for less stressful jobs, she said. Or they’re leaving to work for travel nurse agencies, which send nurses on short-term assignments around the country and can pay them three or four times more than a hospital. Meanwhile, fewer people are enrolling in Kentucky nursing schools, she said. “Last year, we had 1,700 seats open.” Education workers also are burning out and looking for a better deal. “The workload has increased exponentially over the last several years, and especially with COVID, people are just mentally exhausted,

and they are looking for other careers,” said Eddie Campbell, president of the Kentucky Education Association, an advocacy and lobbying group. He pointed out that it’s not just teachers who are quitting. So are school transportation, food service and custodial workers. “Other jobs are pulling them away at higher rates of salary,” he said. And it’s also getting harder for state agencies to fill key jobs, such as snowplow drivers, social workers and state troopers. “I’ve been a trooper for 21 years, and currently our manpower numbers are the lowest that they’ve been in my entire career,” said Sgt. Michael Murriell, the commander of the recruitment branch for the Kentucky State Police. There are about 300 state police jobs open, he said, which is about a third of the jobs for which the state typically has the budget. “We’ve been seeing an average of about five resignations per month, just because of pay in the private sector being what it is currently,” Murriell said. Past underinvestment in school and state employees has contributed to today’s hiring problems, said Dave Kamper, senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank based in Washington, D.C. Over the past decade, states have cut pension benefits and failed to ensure pay keeps up with inflation. “This is the chickens coming home to roost, for a decade of public sector neglect after the Great Recession,” Kamper said. “You had an incredibly brittle public sector before this pandemic hit. And you’re seeing now that it just cannot hold anymore.”


Unexpectedly high revenues and federal COVID-19 relief funds give state leaders an opportunity to address the problem this year. States can use federal dollars from last year’s mammoth American Rescue Plan Act to offer bonuses to essential workers and grow the public sector workforce by up to 7.5%. “Most of these governments, state governments and even local governments, have money in a way that they haven’t for a long time,” Kamper said. Kentucky has a $1.9 billion budget surplus and an additional $1 billion in federal relief funds in the bank, Beshear noted in his budget speech. That’s almost 9% more money than the state spent in fiscal 2019. Governors around the country agree, pitching plans to recruit and retain key workers, especially police and teachers, though not necessarily at the same proposed wage increase. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, wants to raise teacher pay by 7% and state police pay by 20%. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, has called for upping state employee and teacher pay by 4%. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has proposed raising pay for state workers to at least $15 an hour. Some state leaders also support retention bonuses. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said the state will give a $1,000 bonus to all law enforcement and corrections officers. She also announced a $1,000 bonus for teachers who have worked through the pandemic. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has proposed $1,000 bonuses for teachers and both a 25% pay bump and $5,000 signing bonuses for state law enforcement officers.


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| SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022


Greetings from

Greetings from


SHEFFIELD  Downtown Sheffield

 West side of Rockford.
















Employment rate:

Employment rate:

Marble Rock


60.7%©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:

Distance to:


1 hour and 36 minutes


Founded by C. C. Gilman, owner of the Eldora Railroad and Coal Company.©HERE, Lee Enterprises graphic

Median household income:

Des Moines: 103 miles, or 

16.3 minutes


Floyd County

Franklin County

Average commute to work:

Shell Rock River









Nora Springs


156 miles, or 2 hours and 28 minutes

Mason City:

19 miles, or 27 minutes

Average commute to work:

23.2 minutes

Robert Matthews came to Rockford in 1855 and purchased most of the current-day town site, which he then sold in 1856 to a group of six men who called themselves “the Rockford Company.”


Minneapolis/ St. Paul: 137

miles, 2 hours and 14 minutes 

Mason City:

22 miles, about 30 minutes

Food & Beverage Processing Industrial Manufacturing Commercial / Retail Pharmaceutical

A Family-and-Employee-Owned Company

Des Moines: 127

miles, 2 to 2.5 hours


Minneapolis/ St. Paul:

Distance to:



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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |

The ‘great resignation’ JAY L. ZAGORSKY

Boston University

The so-called “great resignation” was one of the top stories of 2021 as “record” numbers of workers reportedly quit their jobs. The latest figures came out on Jan. 4, 2022, and showed that 4.5 million people voluntarily left their positions in November – an “all-time high,” according to the agency responsible for collecting the data. That’s 3% of the nonfarm workforce, which headlines also proclaimed a record level. But is it? The “quit rate” interests me because I wrote my economics doctoral thesis on how people find work. Since then I have been fascinated by how people leave jobs and then find new ones.

Tracking ‘quits’‌

Data on people quitting comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each month the bureau runs the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, also known as JOLTS. The bureau interviews about 20,000 businesses and government agencies each month, which it uses to estimate several aspects of the workforce, including the number of people who quit, retired, got hired or got fired. Since April 2021, the share of nonfarm workers who quit their jobs has been at some of the highest levels recorded by the bureau. In all, nearly 33 million people left their positions over this period, or over a fifth of the total U.S. workforce. Certainly, that’s a lot of people. But a closer look at all the historical data we have can help put this in some perspective. One issue is calling the current levels a “record.” The problem is the data only goes back a little over two decades, which means it’s certainly possible that the rate could have been higher at several points in the past. We just don’t know.

For example, during the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the U.S. economy was strong, which created many new jobs and opportunities for workers. These are typical precursors to more people quitting their current jobs in search of better pay and benefits. Given that the rate was 2.4% in January 2001 – a month after the quits data begins – it’s not a stretch to imagine it may have been higher than the current level at some point in 2000 or earlier. Or another time when quits may have been higher was after World War II, when the postwar American economy was booming and the economy was in great flux. In fact, some data pre2000 does exist that suggests there are times when the quit rate may have been higher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracked the quit rate in the manufacturing sector from 1930 to 1979, when it ended the survey because the industry – which at one time made up as much as 28% of the economy – became less important. Manufacturing workers, who make things like steel, cars and textiles, were quitting their jobs at a monthly average rate of 6.1% in 1945, compared with the 2.3% recorded for the sector in November 2021. Since about a third of the U.S. workforce had manufacturing jobs in the late 1940s, this suggests the overall quit rate was likely higher back then.

quit jobs last year. Again, that seems like a lot, but a huge swath of the labor force does this every year. In 2019, for example, about 28% of the U.S. workforce quit. So is quitting higher than normal? For sure. But off the charts enough to earn the moniker of “great”? I don’t think so. Not all sectors are seeing a wave of quitting Workers also aren’t quitting in droves across all sectors of the economy. While quits are higher than usual in most industries, a few sectors are responsible for most of the turnover, with some lower than their recent peaks. The highest quit rate is in accommodation and food services. About 6.9% of people working in hotels,

motels, restaurants and bars gave notice in November. While that’s the highest since 2000, voluntary turnover in this sector is usually on the high side – given the nature of the work – and has been above 5% many times over the past two decades. November’s second-highest quit rate, at 4.4%, was retail trade, which includes workers in stores and shops. Combined, these two relatively low-wage industries accounted for one third of all people who quit that month. On the other hand, the quit rates for construction, information, finance and insurance and real estate are relatively low and have been higher in the past 21 years. We can also see from the data that young people make up the biggest share of peo-

Historical data, deeper analysis say it’s lighter than headlines suggest ple switching jobs. Data from ADP, one of the largest payroll processors, breaks down turnover by age. But unlike the JOLTS data, ADP doesn’t learn why someone is no longer working at a company – whether they quit, got fired or something else – so it can track only total turnover. ADP’s most recent data shows high turnover is concentrated among 16-to-24year-olds, with a turnover rate almost three times the national average. High turnover for young workers is not surprising, in my view, because COVID-19 restrictions have canceled many nonwage benefits like after-work socializing and company parties. For younger workers new to the labor force, these types of activities are important in

developing company belonging and loyalty. Without them, there are fewer ties binding these workers to a company.

Reducing quit rate‌

Nevertheless, just because the quit rate isn’t at a record doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem of too much turnover in the labor market. But that problem appears to predate the pandemic. High annual quit rates mean many workers are not satisfied with their job’s pay, benefits or working conditions. And that can be a huge waste of time and money for both companies and workers. Hiring and training workers is expensive. And searching for new jobs and switching jobs is physically and emotionally difficult for workers.

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A lot of stories have also focused on the absolute number of workers who quit their jobs, such as 4.5 million who quit in November – on a seasonally adjusted basis. If quits for December 2021 are similar to November, I expect about 47 million people will have voluntarily left their jobs in all of 2021. That would mean about 33% of the total nonfarm workforce

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| Sunday, March 20, 2022


Globe Gazette

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RETURN OF THE NATIVE Ibarra returns to Britt as city administrator ROB HILLESLAND



t has been a whirlwind for Britt native and newly minted City Administrator Elizabeth Ibarra since she graduated from West Hancock High School in 2015. “I absolutely love living in Britt,” Ibarra said. “I grew up here and didn’t really move away.” Not for long anyway. Right after high school, she trained and served in the National Guard for the better part of a Ibarra year. She was a 92 Alpha automated logistical specialist, working primarily with vehicles and equipment. “I had to be very organized and maintain good records,” she said. Ibarra said those experiences help her in her role with the city of Britt, because “we have to be very organized.” She already has several months of experience with her new position, having served as acting city administrator/ clerk since September until being named to the position permanently on Feb. 1. Prior to that, she had served as deputy city clerk since June 4, 2020, shortly after graduating from Waldorf University with her business management degree in May 2020. She also attended North Iowa Area Community College. After first returning to Britt in November 2015, Ibarra worked at the Britt Food Center as well as at a couple of “pig farms” while going to college. Having grown up within the Britt city limits and not being a farm girl, she said learning farm work was interesting and valuable for her personal development. Ibarra has worked closely with city council members and Mayor Ryan Arndorfer during that time. She moved into her new role after former city administrator/clerk Debra Sawyer left city administration last year following an extended medical leave. “I had already been doing payroll and accounts payable,” Ibarra said. “It definitely helped.” Between all of that, she had maternity leave. She and her husband, Gerardo, have two sons. The couple met in high school and has been married for six years. “I have a lot going on with the kids too,” Ibarra said. “I used to run a lot and

Above: From left, Elizabeth Ibarra is shown with her family members, sons Federico and Leonardo, and husband Gerardo. Right: Elizabeth Ibarra is shown with her husband, Gerardo, while serving in the National Guard. participated in cross country and track in high school. I just don’t have as much time for it right now. I really like to spend time with my kids. I also enjoy reading.” Her family also finds time to attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Britt when they are able. Ibarra said it was Sawyer who appointed her to serve as the city representative on the Britt Chamber of Commerce, which is a position she really enjoys. “I think we should be shopping in Britt, for the most part,” Ibarra said. “I want to be able to help make Britt grow. We all want Britt to grow, and I hope that is something I can help (with).” Of the Britt city council members, city

staff, and Mayor Arndorfer, Ibarra says they have all been extremely helpful as she settles into her new role. “They’re all very kind,” she said. “They answer me right away when I need something. They all communicate well, and Ryan (Arndorfer) is a great boss. We all get along very well.” Ibarra said the biggest challenge right now is budgeting, but Cindy Kendall of CKendell Consulting, LLC in Marshalltown is assisting with her training. Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS‌


Canine counselor

Academy rewards

Forest City school district eyes innovative therapy dog

NIACC Academy carves out career path for high schoolers

Labor leaders say conditions favorable for organizing




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| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette


DOG Forest City schools training innovative canine for therapy ROB HILLESLAND


It seems that everyone needs support to get through difficult times in life. That help can sometimes come from support animals. This is the case for special education students in the Forest City Middle School classroom of Ryan Smith. That is where students are becoming acquainted with one of “man’s best friends” known as Tracker. Tracker is interning for a new position at the schools in which his primary job duties are to calm nerves, spur interaction and learning among students, and offer them friendship, fun, and companionship no matter what is happening in the world around them. About six years ago, Smith started to discuss the benefits of getting a therapy dog for his special education classroom with Forest City High School Principal Ken Baker. Both of them agreed that the possibilities for a dog in the classroom were exciting, so they actively started the process of searching for a therapy dog to complement student learning. “We were referred to an organization that trained service dogs,” Smith said. “Almost four years later, the organization had yet to produce a dog. At this point, we decided to move on to a different program that used inmates to train therapy dogs. Everything was proceeding and we were set to visit the facility when COVID shut the program down. Shortly


Ryan Smith and Tracker are shown atop a snowy hillside. Tracker is training to be a therapy dog in the Forest City Community School District.

Tracker is well-mannered dog and a quick learner, which bodes well for training to become a therapy dog in the Forest City Community School District. after, my family’s dog of 16 years passed away.” So, Tracker was adopted by the Ryan and Abby Smith household, which includes daughters Harper, 8, and Finley, 5. They had all decided it was time for another dog. “We are an active family that enjoys taking our dog running, hiking, fishing, and camping,” Smith said. “On a professional level, I was frustrated with our lack of progress. Abby and I decided that we would purchase a dog and attempt to train him, so it could become a certified therapy dog that could be used in the school setting.” They honed in on Tracker,

who is a male mix breed between an Australian cattle dog and a standard poodle. Currently, he weighs about 50 pounds, is approximately one year old, and continues growing. The Smith family members describe Tracker as both high energy and highly intelligent. He already knows about 30 commands. Baker informed Forest City School Board members of Tracker’s progress recently. Baker noted Smith has been successful to date in training Tracker for the role, working with his family members and others. “Ryan has been working with folks,” Baker said.

“He has invested time and is training Tracker to be a therapy dog. A good therapy dog will sense the anxiety of a person. It is very calming when it interacts with kids.” Baker said Tracker is already creating positive relationships with people and is a very well-behaved animal. He did not provide a timeline for the future therapy dog’s progression to a permanent role in the district. Smith said Tracker has already participated in numerous group obedience classes as well as some private behavioral sessions. In order to become a certified therapy dog, Tracker will need to pass a certification test. While Tracker has proved to be a quick learner, there are still hurdles he will need to clear before he can become certified, according to Smith. “As a high school special education teacher for the past 16 years, I have had the opportunity to teach a variety of students,” Smith said. “I have come to believe that building positive relationships with students is the most effective way to promote academic success, and to develop post-graduation independence. Having a therapy dog in the class-

In front is Tracker. In back, from left are Ryan and Abby Smith’s daughters Finley, 5, and Harper, 8. room creates a different approach to building those positive relationships.” Furthermore, Smith insists that the sky is the limit for Tracker. He said the possibilities for Tracker as a therapy dog are numerous and districtwide. Only his level of training, lack of imagination or unseen circumstances might limit him. “In the future, I see my students giving presentations with Tracker in elementary classrooms,” Smith said. “This will help students develop public speaking, leadership, and responsibility.” He continued with more

aspirations for Tracker in the future. “Tracker will be used in the counseling office to help struggling students cope,” Smith said. “He can be used to promote exercise and responsibility, and appropriate animal care. Most importantly he will be a good listener, energetic playmate, and a ready friend.” To those admirable traits, the entire Smith family can already attest. Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at rob.hillesland@globegazette.

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Kristin Fish-Peterson City of Forest City Winnebago County Winn-Worth Betco | 641.585.5560 00 1


Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |



From left, advanced manufacturing students Blake Groves of Forest City and Sam Turner of Garner-Hayfield Ventura Schools check out the Eurovac hood in a welding station at the new John V. Hanson Career Center in October.

Steve Schulz, president of North Iowa Area Community College, speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the John V. Hanson Career Center project in Forest City in October of 2020. Sitting on the left is Dr. Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education, and on the right, Eric Kingland, president of Kingland Construction.

NIACC Academy pairs students, employers Students pursuing manufacturing, construction, IT and health careers KAYLEE SCHUERMANN

Globe Gazette‌

In October, NIACC Academy’s John V. Hanson Career Center opened in Forest City, granting students and local businesses and community members opportunities they never had before. The facility, available for all within the local communities, provides education and services from morning to night. High school students attend classes from 8-11:30 a.m., afternoons are open for reservation by businesses and community members for meetings, and evenings and nights at the facility are for more classes and programs offered to the community. “We built the facility for usage, and we’re just try-

ing to fill that up,” said Jim Haag, John V. Hanson Career Center director. The career center provides dual-enrollment career and technical education courses in four academies, allowing juniors and seniors to earn high school and college credits. Upon completion of an academy, students will receive fundamental certificates and will have essentially completed their first year of college. The four academies are advanced manufacturing, construction trades, information technology and health careers. These opportunities are offered to four high schools in the area: Forest City, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Lake Mills and North Iowa. “The purpose really is to provide high-quality career and technical education, whether it is the schools, communities, business and industry or any other entities that want additional

training to help bolster the work force and workforce development,” said Haag. The career center did not open until Oct. 27, nearly two months after its expected date, due to a lack of supplies for the building; however, this did not stop the high school students from participating in their classes. Thanks to the help of the career center’s business partners, classes were held at each business partner’s location. “So our kids actually went into the workplace every day, which was really kind of a blessing in disguise, because they got to see the day-to-day operations and the programming of which they were going to be studying at that time,” said Haag. In preparation for the new year, the career center already has taken action with the partnered schools to pique students’ interest. Forest City School District has 14 students participating in the program now,

City of Forest City

age issues in area counties, and are encouraging students to seek out area employers. “The students here are really striving to better themselves and position themselves for (life) after high school.” said Haag, “And our business and in-

dustry partners are trying to position themselves to be more competitive in the marketplace.” Students who join the NIACC Academy through a partnered school can attend classes cost-free, including textbooks, tools and equipment.

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City of Britt

Incorporated: 1855

Incorporated: 1881

Named after: More than 160 years ago Robert Clark, a native of Pennsylvania, sought out a better life in the westward settling of a new state called Iowa-”Land between two rivers”. As he traveled from Mason City northwest to the new frontier, he came to a spot where a river flowed, trees were plentiful for building and a giant prairie laid to the West, which was abundant with deer, elk, and a buffalo-a perfect combination. Here Mr. Clark, in 1855, set the pin stakes for a town called Forest City, which was literally carved out of the native forest.

Named after: Britt, at first merely a station on the rail line, owes its existence to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. Britt was named, as were several stations on the line, for one of the railroad’s employees, either a brakeman or a chief engineer. In the 1870s, the many sloughs around Britt made much of the land unsuitable for farming. Yet farmers did settle, and by June 20, 1878, early pioneers platted the businesses, churches, and residences they relied upon as the village of Britt.

Population: 3,830 Median household income: $49,309

00 1

and already has 32 students in early enrollment for next year. “We are excited about those numbers, and I think that speaks volumes for everybody involved,” said Forest City School District Superintendent Darwin Lehmann. Charles City recently received a $1 million grant to provide teens in their area with similar opportunities through NIACC, and it will cater to the work demands in that area. So far, the center has seven partnered schools, but the facility has not yet broken ground. Students are able to move into their fields after completing the academy, but NIACC officials hope they choose to find a summer job related to their field and then attend the community college in the fall to continue their training and education. Program directors are hoping to ease labor short-

Population: 1892 Median household income: $45,625

Average commute to work: 14.5 minutes

Average commute to work: 16.6 minutes

Distance to: • Des Moines: 136.2 miles, 2 hours and 5 minutes • Minneapolis/St. Paul: 136.9 miles, 2 hours and 7 minutes • Mason City: 28.8 miles, about 36 minutes

Distance to: • Des Moines: 118.6 miles, 2 hours and 1 minutes • Minneapolis/St. Paul: 153.9 miles, 2 hours and 26 minutes • Mason City: 31.2 miles, about 46 minutes



| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette

Unions: Pandemic, job openings favor workers Labor leaders say conditions favorable for organizing workers PAT KINNEY

Special to The Globe Gazette‌

WATERLOO – The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent labor shortages have put more power in the hands of workers, but it’s a challenge organizing employees, local labor leader say. Several members of the Black Hawk Labor Assembly AFL-CIO agree that the so-called “great resignation” of workers during the coronavirus shutdown has created greater opportunity for workplace gains for those still employed – if they choose to take advantage of the situation and unionize. “You have a perfect storm going right now,” said Rich Kurtenbach, an organizer with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 288. “You have a high demand for workers. And then you have a situation with COVID, where people got used to working from home. And they don’t want to risk their lives for some of the jobs they had. “So finally, workers are standing up and saying, ‘Enough.’” Kurtenbach said. “Now if they’d just do that more together, and form unions where they’re working instead of just quitting, we would see probably a greater rise of unions than we saw back in the 1940s. But we’re still having that disconnect (between) workers standing up for their rights as workers and putting that into concerted activity with other workers. “So there’s potential for a large gain in unions,” Kurtenbach said. But there are other challenges. “There’s also legislation against us too,” said Chuck Kacher of Waverly, business manager with IBEW Local 288. “People are still scared of concerted activity, losing their jobs over it.” He advocated adoption of the federal Protect the Right to Organize, or PRO, Act of 2021. He and Kurtenbach say some court and administrative law rulings, as well as some legislation, have slowly eroded


From left, Rich Kurtenbach, Chuck Kacher, Steve Abbott and Jerry Hageman, all affiliated with the Black Hawk Labor Assembly AFL-CIO, are shown here at the Black Hawk Labor Temple, where they met to discuss worker empowerment. Kurtenbach and Kacher are officials with International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker Local 288, Abbott is president of Communications Workers of America local 7108 and Hageman is assembly president. workers’ ability to organize. Additionally, the state of Iowa restricted collective bargaining rights for public sector employees about five years ago, limiting the scope of collective bargaining to wages only, unless both parties agree to negotiate some benefit and workplace items deemed mutually “permissible” for negotiation. Because of worker shortages, some employers are opening up the scope of talks in order to be able to attract employees, said Steve Abbott, president of Communications Workers of America Local 7108. “I’ll give you a ‘for instance’ — health care,” said Abbott, whose union includes health care and nursing employees. “They know there’s a shortage of health care workers. Twenty percent of the health care workers have left the profession since February 2020. Thirty percent more are going to leave before the end of 2022. There’s already a shortage of nurses of 1.1 million. So it’s becoming a little bit easier. One of the things that’s holding them back is if nurses would stick together a little more.

“You hear about the ‘great resignation.’ I call it the ‘great realignment,’” Abbott said. “Workers are thinking about new priorities. Family. Safety. Appreciation from the employers. That all goes a long way on this so-called ‘resignation.’ People are sick and tired of it. And once they start standing together, there will be a resurgence of labor unions. And have kind of an even playing field then.” “This demand for workers isn’t going to be over overnight,” Kurtenbach said. “I’m at the end of the baby boomers. And if you look back in the ‘80s, people weren’t having kids like they did before that. So we see we’re going to have bigger gains in membership, not because we’re gaining a whole lot more people, but we’re going to have less people retiring, leaving a whole lot more demand” for unionization. “We’re actually seeing groups organizing we would never have thought of before,” Abbott said. “The internet has made some places, call centers, a little harder to organize because of the workfrom-home aspect.” But there’s organizing efforts among gaming

company employees, comic book workers and contract technicians at large data centers. “Everybody’s life is busy right now, “ Abbott said. “Once people realize what they want and how to collectively get it, there’ll be a resurgence. The differentiation between the haves and have-nots has never been greater than it is right now. And I think we’re going to see some things that are going to make it easier on everybody. “This pandemic has thrown everything into a turmoil,” he said. “But once the sit down and realize what their priorities are, and what it’s going take to get there, I think you’re going to see concerted collective (unionization) actions.” “We’re still overcoming all the negative that’s happened in the last 40 years against unions,” Kurtenbach said. The erosion of the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act and Iowa public employee collective bargaining law, which Kacher cited, are prime examples. “Why would someone want to take a job plowing snow in the winter when they can go to another company, work in construction, making a whole lot more and they have a voice in their workplace, where they can’t working for the state?” Kurtenbach said. “It’s no different working for a municipal utility or a city public works (department). These are things that have hampered the ability of workers to stand up and say, ‘I deserve more in the workplace.’ Until we overcome some of these negatives, there’s still a lot of limits on what employees can do in joining or creating a union where they work.” Municipalities and local government entities are hurting as a result, and it’s mutually beneficial to negotiate a full wage and benefit package, Kacher said. “If we’re stripping their rights to negotiate their benefits, we’re stripping their (public employers’) rights to recruit good people.” “And they’re having problems finding people to even apply for openings,” Kurtenbach said. “You’re seeing employers give bigger raises,” Kurtenbach said.

“They probably more than deserve it,” he said, “but they’re also trying to get people to stay.” Kacher added federal legislation to protect defined benefit pensions “would go a long way toward keeping people working.” He also noted some employers tried to portray themselves as magnanimous giving out federal Payroll Protection Plan money from the government. “It’s the biggest BS thing,” he said, since it’s coming from the taxpayers. “People are learning their worth. We’re not just expendable tools anymore,” Kacher said. “You’ve had a lot of boomers leave the work force that were working, thought they had to work, and quit working, and realized, ‘I don’t need to work anymore.’ They realized they could afford to be retired, and probably cost themselves by going to work. Since Reagan they’d all been convinced, you’re no good unless you work until you die. Now they realize they don’t have to do that anymore.” He was referring to President Ronald Reagan terminating striking federal air traffic controllers in 1981. Jerry Hageman, president of the Black Hawk Labor Assembly, noted teachers are also feeling COVID stress, as evidence by a walkout move by Chicago teachers to reinstate virtual learning and more rigorous COVID safety protocols. The recent month-long strike by the United Auto Workers at Deere & Co. facilities in Waterloo and elsewhere “had to happen,” Abbott said, to get the new collective bargaining agreement, ratified after two previous tentative agreements were rejected by the membership. “Here you had one of the most profitable companies making record profits and not willing to share,” Abbott said. And, Hageman said, those wages and benefits have a ripple effect in the pay and benefits paid locally to union and nonunion workers alike “Unions lift everyone up,” he said.

Britt - 641-843-3839 Kanawha - 641-762-3211 Clarion & Dows - 515-532-2233 Belmond - 641-444-3248

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Throughout the last few years and what our communities have faced in these challenging times, families have had to grieve losses in an entirely new way, unlike anything we’ve had to do in our lifetimes. We wish to thank our families and communities for their unending understanding and support for our funeral home staff, and for each other. It is our privilege to continue to be here to serve you.


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Globe Gazette

Sunday, March 20, 2022 |

We Invite you to visit our Chamber Members and our Chamber Events • Omelet Breakfast • Britt Car, Truck, Bike & Tractor Nights • Outdoor Movie • Grillin’ & Chillin’ • Chili Cookoff • Treats on the Streets • Harvest Hoedown • Frozen Frolic

2022 Chamber Members Alissa Vinyl Designs Alliant Energy Allied ENS, LLC Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention BIDCO Big Brad’s BBQ Brick Street Theatre Britt Area Food Bank Britt Bar & Grill Britt Car, Truck, Bike, Tractor Night Ride Britt Draft Horse Assn Britt Fire Association Britt Food Center Britt Girl Scouts Britt Golf Course BRITT Group Britt Hobo Days Association Britt Public Library Britt Seed Company Britt Vet Clinic Britt -Woden Insurance Cataldo Funeral Home Eisenman Insurance Cheese Man City of Britt Clearwater Carwash Cobbler Shoppe Communications 1 Curt & Kristi Gast Dental Center of North Iowa Diemer Realty Earl Hill Law Office El Tequila

Elizabeth’s Pharmacy Ewing Funeral Home Family Eye Care Farmers Trust & Savings Fenchel, Doster, Buck & Ennen Law Office First Citizens Bank First State Bank Flower Cart Fort & Schlegel Friends of Public Library Gary Gelner Gene Guenther Gifts Sew Sweet Hancock County Economic Development Hancock County Extension Office Hancock County Farm Bureau Hancock County Health Systems Hancock County Learning Center Haugland Repair Heath’s Computer Repair Hobo Art Gallery Insurance & Financial Solutions JAKS Puppies Jay Hiscocks-State Farm John B Johnson Johnson Drainage Kelly Real Estate Kevin Sanger KIOW Liberty School Museum Lynn’s Farm Mary Jo’s Hobo House

Maxyield Cooperative Mayne Salon Michael Foods Midwest Duct Works Mike Muth Welding Miller & Sons Golf Cars MOJO Productions National Purity New Horizon NIACC North Iowa Lumber & Design Original Saw Pritchard Auto Roger Jacobson Salon 201 Sanger Legacy Foundation Sents Seeds Siegrist, Jones & Bakke Stevens Realty Summit House Summit Tribune Swenson’s Hardware The Leader Titanium Lunchbox Trulson Auto Parts Unicover Victory Chiropractic West Hancock Schools Westview Care Center WHAS Wilson’s Woody’s Hotdogs

Visit our Facebook page for more information about Britt Chamber Events

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| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette

WORK OPPORTUNITIES 3 of the best career fields for current job seekers to target KATHLEEN FURORE

Tribune Content Agency


ccording to a December 2021 survey from LinkedIn, 62% of working Americans are considering a job change in 2022, with almost a quarter (24%) currently looking. I looked into some jobs and career fields that hold promise, and discovered that health care, technology and education are among the best areas for job seekers to target.

In the growing fields of technology, health care and education, positions in IT, vaccine specialization and online tutoring, are in high demand, respectively.

care 1 Health “Owing to the pandemic,

the number of health care opportunities has risen drastically... so, one can choose the pharmaceutical field and health care field as career options in 2022,” says Jonathan Tian, co-founder of Mobitrix. In fact, vaccine specialists topped the list of 25 fastest-growing jobs in LinkedIn’s just-released Jobs on the Rise report. “Medical sales reps, pharmacists and nurses are transitioning to this role,” the report says.

2 Technology Not surprisingly, oppor-

tunities for people with IT experience abound, according to Jeramy Kaiman, head of U.S. Professional Recruitment, West, at The Adecco Group. While most professional roles are in record high demand — including those in corporate recruiting, digital marketing, business development, and data science/analysis — “there’s no question that tech capabilities were the number one skill set that our customers are asking for,” Kaiman says. He adds that 40% of hiring decision makers across a variety


of industries say technical skills have been increasingly difficult to find in potential candidates since the pandemic began, even though those skills are the most sought after. “Our annual salary guide revealed that the No. 1 desired skill set across various industries, including accounting, finance, HR and marketing, is tech expertise,” Kaiman says. “Across the board, the total compensation packages that individuals who are adept in technology are receiving are more significant than those who do not have technical backgrounds,” he says.

That is something to keep in mind when exploring these jobs, which ranked No. 2 through No. 10 in LinkedIn’s Jobs on the Rise list: Diversity and inclusion manager Customer marketing manager Machine learning engineer Process development scientist Business development representative Search marketing manager User experience researcher Business system administrator Analyst relations specialist

3 Education The pandemic

also has created opportunities in education; online tutoring is one example. According to the Online Tutoring Market-Forecast and Analysis Report 2021-2025, the market has the potential to grow by $153.07 billion by 2025, with growth momentum projected to accelerate at a compound annual growth rate of 15.77%. Myles Hunter, CEO and cofounder of TutorMe, says, “the rise in remote learning fueled the need for online tutoring, but it has also exposed a need for enhanced academic support that has been long present. Prior to

the pandemic, online tutoring was already growing at a strong pace, and the pandemic accelerated that growth. Now the value of high-quality online tutoring has been recognized, the demand for great tutors is going to continue to increase.” And that’s one area that’s flexible and doesn’t require high-level IT skills. “A great online tutor obviously must have subject-level expertise. Experience in education, tutoring and teaching is helpful, but what is most important is that a tutor has a strong desire to help others learn and grow,” Hunter says. “Patience is also a key.”

Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications.

OPEN THE DOOR TO ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES We are proud to be a community bank. Whether your are opening an account for your child, buying your first home, or planning for retirement, MBT Bank will be there every step of the way.


Globe Gazette

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Sunday, March 20, 2022 |




| Sunday, March 20, 2022

Globe Gazette

Thank You! Your HealtH... our Care...

A Lasting Partnershipp s r a e y 0 7 g n i t a r b e l Ce

Today, we strive to bring the best of health care to Hancock County and the surrounding area. From wellness and prevention, to the common cold or a serious illness, our providers and staff continue to recognize their calling to serve the community and set the standard in compassionate, convenient and quality medical care.

y t i n u m m o C We are THe

Our priority continues to be to provide the highest quality of care in the most efficient manner to all who seek treatment here. We also are proud of the fact that many of the 200 employees of HCHS give back to the communities in which they live and work by serving as members in local organizations or government and take the lead in several community-wide events.

WE ARE Compassionate. WE ARE Capable.

SERVICES: Hancock County System has been providing high-quality care to the area for 70 years. HCHS offers many services including: • General Surgery • Heart and Vascular Center • Pain Management • Skilled Nursing Care

WE ARE Committed.

Community togetHer, We are

• Primary Clinics in Four Communities • Radiology Services • Rehabilitation Services (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy) • And so much more! Visit us at:

HCHS CliniCS: 641-843-5050 HCHS HoSpital: 641-843-5000 00 1