Yet that shortage hurts Iowa; Rubel says Gov. Terry Branstad and state economic development officials tell him companies that want to bring jobs here are hesitant because the necessary workforce is not available.
"Employers are asking, 'Where are we going to get our workers?'," said Rubel. "In this division of the college, advanced manufacturing is becoming a priority."
But, said Miller and Rubel, don't make the mistake of thinking that an out-of-work laborer, or even someone with a history degree, is going to walk into one of these manufacturing plants and score the $19 an hour job that a community college grad is going to get.
In fact, added Kepner, uneducated or untrained workers are going to have a tougher time finding what used to be called "an unskilled" position.
"Those days are about over," he said.
Said Rubel, "There are very few jobs now in our society that pay a sustainable wage without post-secondary education."
To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark