What was initially a database allowing former Iowans to connect has evolved into a workforce attraction campaign to identify tech-skilled Iowa expats and recruit them back to the state.
The Iowan Project is a web application featuring an interactive map of Iowa expats around the world. Users “drop their pin” on their current location and list past associations with the state of Iowa including hometown, educational institutions, and past workplaces. Users can find and connect with fellow Iowans in their area. The website has been active and collecting information for the database for the past three years.
“Those of us who have been lucky enough to live in Iowa know how great it is,” said Mollie Ross, Director of Events and Talent Development at the Technology Association of Iowa. “It’s a lot easier to get connected with people who have already had the experience of being in Iowa and know all the benefits that the state has to offer.”
Registered users of the Iowan Project receive regular communications from TAI and Iowan Project partners including news, updates and job opportunities from featured Iowa communities and employers in an attempt to recruit them back to the state.
“There always people who say they would consider moving back to Iowa if the right opportunities were there,” Ross said. “It’s just a matter of getting those right opportunities in front of them.”
The Iowan Project will be hosting a regional meetup in Chicago this evening.
The meetup will offer attendees the opportunity to network with fellow Iowans and to learn about technology careers and the great lifestyle amenities offered by Iowa communities.
“It’s a fun opportunity to target some cities where we know there are a large number of Iowa expats currently living,” Ross said.
The Chicago meetup is just the second regional meetup hosted by the Iowa Project. The first meetup was held in Denver in June of this year.
“We hosted two events this year to feel it out see how people responded,” Ross said. “Fortunately, we’ve had a really great response. It’s looking like a great turnout crowd for the Chicago meetup. So it’s something we’ll likely continue in the future.”