Shannon Laundauer
Shannon Laundauer
February 4, 2014

Just weeks into her new job, Shannon Landauer, Carroll's new economic-development director, is spotlighting a big local math problem.

Carroll County's unemployment rate stands at 2.6 percent, according to Iowa Workforce Development, but there are at least 300 jobs available in what amounts to a 30-mile radius around the City of Carroll.

Carroll Area Development Corporation President Jim Auen and Landauer presented information on the employment outlook in Carroll during a city council work session Monday night. Landauer elaborated on her thoughts in a follow-up interview with The Daily Times Herald.

"We are not getting a huge influx of people," Auen said.

He said the CADC will be examining housing, pay and other factors in an effort to lure more people to the region to fill jobs. The CADC, Auen said, plans to be more aggressive in tracking available workforce.

Landauer used information from workforce development, the websites of local employers and interviews with businesspeople to arrive at the 300 figure, which she said is "rough" and evolving. She said the 300 jobs run the spectrum from entry level to professional.

What's more, Landauer said, there are five business prospects considering locating or expanding into the Carroll area. If all take shape, that would mean at least 100 more jobs available. Landauer declined to identify the businesses, citing confidentiality agreements.

While people are willing to move from job to job, Carroll needs a larger employee base, Landauer said.

"We're still going to have to have someone fill where they left," Landauer said.

The CADC has expressed interest in pursuing Gov. Terry Branstad's Home Base Iowa initiative aimed at recruiting returning military veterans to Iowa for jobs. There may also be an alumni campaign designed to lure back graduates of Carroll High School and Kuemper Catholic High School and other area schools.

If a skills gap is a major problem, as State Sen. Mark Segebart, R-Vail, suggested Saturday during a Carroll Chamber of Commerce legislative forum, then the CADC will work with Des Moines Area Community College on training programs, Landauer said.