In the summer of 2014, a small group of community leaders started meeting to discuss how to make a positive impact on the community. They knew we needed to start doing things differently to address some of our community’s most pressing issues. ISU Extension & Outreach Muscatine County brought the Forum for Youth Investment to Muscatine to do a series of community presentations about the collective impact framework.
Community leaders continued to meet and realized that the community needed to pursue grant funding to be able to put the backbone infrastructure in place. In December 2015, Muscatine was awarded a six-month planning grant from Iowa College Aid to gather community data, bring together stakeholders, and draft a common agenda. It was during this time that the community data showed us that Iowa’s demographics are changing as the demands for an educated and skilled workforce are increasing. Georgetown University Workforce projections estimate that by 2025, almost 7 in 10 jobs in Iowa will require some type of post-secondary credential, be it a technical certification, AA, BA, or advanced degree. Muscatine’s data showed us that there is an urgent need for change.
Muscatine was then awarded a multi-year launch grant from Iowa College Aid in April 2016. It was in April that the group of community leaders officially became Aligned Impact Muscatine (AIM). AIM is additionally supported by funds from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine and housed by United Way of Muscatine.
The AIM Leadership Council includes Kathie Anderson-Noel of Muscatine County Community Service, Gary Carlson of HNI Corporation, Pam Collins of Musser Library, Jaimie Cruse of Trinity Muscatine New Horizons, Dr. Naomi DeWinter of Muscatine Community College, Rich Dwyer of Kent Corporation, Greg Jenkins of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bret Olson of the Muscatine Community YMCA, Shane Orr from United Way of Muscatine, Krista Regennitter of ISU Extension & Outreach Muscatine County, Dr. Jerry Riibe from the Muscatine Community School District, and Christy Roby Williams from Trinity Muscatine Public Health.
Aligned Impact Muscatine has 3 goals:
|Increase the percentage of MCSD students who graduate from high school.
|Increase the percentage of post-secondary completion in our community.|
|Increase training opportunities for adults to address unemployment and underemployment.|
To be responsive to our community’s challenges, Aligned Impact Muscatine, through a community collaborative, aims to improve educational outcomes to better prepare students and adults for tomorrow’s workforce needs and to build a more employable and prosperous community for future generations. Solutions to these problems are complex. We know that no one organization can tackle these issues on their own. We also know that real change will take time. AIM is working to achieve these goals by aligning resources under four strategy networks.