Clarke County has earned multiple statewide designations in recent years, establishing the county as a hub for residents and businesses of Southern Iowa.
In 2014, Osceola became the 7th community in the state—and 30th in the nation—to earn a Connected Community certification. Connect Iowa, an organization that leads efforts to increase high-speed Internet access throughout the state, awards Connected Community certifications to communities that meet the initiative’s standards for Internet access.
Connect Iowa assesses a community’s local broadband landscape, identifies gaps and establishes goals for the future. To earn the certification, the city of Osceola demonstrated proficiency for effective access, adoption and use of broadband-supported technologies across the city. The city also released a new technology action plan at the Certification award ceremony.
“I’m confident that the community will use this designation to increase the robust economic development efforts in Osceola,” said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds of the certification.
A Connected Community designation demonstrates Osceola’s commitment to the success of local businesses. Broadband access allows them to reach customer bases, resources and connections beyond Southern Iowa.
Also in 2014, Clarke County received the Skilled Iowa Initiative designation. Skilled Iowa helps match up Iowa workers with unfilled positions across the state. The initiative encourages job seekers to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate, which demonstrates their essential skills to employers seeking those skills. It allows workers to showcase their unique skills and benefits companies by providing a shortened hiring process and reduced turnover rates. To earn the designation, over ten percent of Osceola’s employers became Skilled Iowa members, and over five percent of the current labor force received readiness certificates.
This designation demonstrates Osceola’s skilled workforce and draws skilled workers to local businesses seeking quality employees.
Clarke County was the third county in the state to receive Home Base Iowa status, deeming the county a center of opportunity for military veterans.
In 2014, Clarke County committed to recruiting veterans for quality, high paying jobs in order to earn the Home Base Iowa status. Over ten percent of Clarke County’s businesses have also earned Home Base Business statuses, demonstrating their commitment to hiring veterans and active service members.
The county also implemented a Military Home Assistance Program that provides eligible service members and veterans with a $2,000 grant to purchase a home in the county, while offering complimentary rooms at Lakeside Hotel during their housing search.
“Communities like Clarke County prove just how much Iowans respect the sacrifice our veterans and their families have made for this country,” said Governor Terry Branstad of the status achievement.