Culver highlights expanding green-collar jobs in Ames


Photo: Tyler Kingkade/Iowa State Daily

Gov. Chet Culver visited WebFilings in Ames on Monday Culver said that growth in green-collar jobs are a part of why Iowa is doing better than many state economies.

Tyler Kingkade

Gov. Chet Culver launched a tour Monday of Iowa companies he said will lead Iowa forward, and said he will continue to encourage green-collar jobs and invest in information technology, advanced manufacturing and bio science companies.

“We’re going to continue on what has worked,” Culver said, explaining those fields are where Iowa is seeing success and can help keep people from leaving the state for work. “We’re very focused on continuing to lead in terms of information technology, obviously.”

Monday, Culver, along with Iowa Department of Economic Development Director Bret Mills and State Sen. Herman Quirmbach, visited WebFilings, 2625 North Loop Drive, to hear a presentation about what the company described as “hyper-growth.”

WebFilings is a cloud-based technology company working with public companies who must file SEC reports. It received $900,000 from the IDED to date but has raised $7 million by private sources and said it wants to continue to work with the state to invest in growth, which it said will allow it to have 300 employees by 2014.

Culver said this was a successful example of a public-private partnership in Iowa.

“I do think this is a great example of why Iowa’s outpacing most of the country right now in terms of job creation and economic growth,” Culver said to WebFilings leaders.

The company told the governor its wages were 120 percent of what the average Iowa wage is and pointed to independent studies showing for every high salary job created, up to 10 jobs locally are supported. WebFilings currently employs 96 people and said it’s created a direct tax base of $37.5 million in Iowa.

Culver said he feels the state is hitting its “sweet spot” in terms of success encouraging businesses like WebFilings to expand in Iowa.

Republican Terry Branstad launched a new television ad this week called, “We’ve got an app for that,” which attacked Culver on the jobs lost and the cost of the I-JOBS program. However, the ad incorrectly states I-JOBS costs the taxpayers $1.7 billion, which is an outdated figure and is in fact being paid for through casino and gaming revenue.

Still, Branstad’s campaign manager, Tim Albrecht, said Branstad would create more jobs than the Culver administration.

“Gov. Branstad made economic development and job creation a priority throughout his 16 years as Iowa’s governor, and as a result, nearly 300,000 new jobs were created and Iowa’s unemployment rate was reduced to an historic low,” Albrecht said. “In addition, Gov. Branstad made job creation his number one priority when announcing his candidacy, and has offered numerous policy initiatives to meet his ambitious goal of creating 200,000 new jobs.”

Last week Branstad said he would seek to expand trading from Iowa to South Korea.

Under the Korea-U.S. agreement, his campaign said, exports of U.S. pork are expected to grow from $215 million to $870 million a year. Branstad said he would lead an ETA which will coordinate a trade delegation to South Korea to focus on selling Iowa agriculture products to the Korean marketplace.

Branstad said he would eliminate the IDED which helped finance some of these companies.

He similarly set a five-year goal in his re-election year of 1994 to create 300,000 jobs. Roughly 66,000 jobs were created from ‘94 to the time Branstad left office in 1999, according to the Iowa Department of Workforce Development.

Culver also visited Advanced Technologies Group in West Des Moines on Monday and traveled to Newton. He and Miller will visit TeamQuest in Clear Lake, Danisco in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday and will visit Vizient in Bettendorf Thursday.

Culver on CNBC

Just prior to the presentation, Culver was interviewed live on CNBC to react to President Barack Obama’s town hall-style meeting on job creation. Culver said he admired Obama for his “laser-like” focus on the economy and applauded the president’s efforts.

Judge to visit Iowa State

Lt. Gov. Patty Judge will visit Iowa State at noon on Tuesday in the Gold Room of the Memorial Union. The event is open to the public.