DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds unveiled a marketing campaign Monday designed to “crash the myth” Iowa isn’t a great place to live, work and raise a family in hopes of persuading people not familiar with the state to give it a look.
Reynolds chose a downtown restaurant operated by an Australian who transplanted his family from New York City as the backdrop for announcing the launch of the “This Is Iowa” campaign. She hopes to “surprise non-Iowans” by highlighting the affordability, natural beauty, culture, economic vitality and relaxed lifestyle many enjoy.
“Our economy is humming and unemployment rates remain historically low, but Iowa’s population is not growing,” Reynolds said. “We just need more people.”
Reynolds said the “creative, clever” effort to encourage people from across the nation to visit, live and work in Iowa is intended to raise awareness and spur economic growth by highlighting quality-of-life benefits while “disrupting the typical thinking about our state and generating interest in checking us out.”
For example, she said, a YouTube video released as part of the campaign captures New York residents realizing how Iowa is not only affordable, but home to modern amenities, short commutes, recreation and culture.
“I hear this over and over from people — if we get them to Iowa and if we have them here for a year or two, they stay,” the governor said. “Our goal with this initiative is not only to increase tourism and increase visitors to the state, but maybe open their eyes to really crash the myth that we don’t have a lot of great things going on here.”
The state is looking to recruit new residents and train existing workers to fill a growing number of high-demand job openings. The “This is Iowa” campaign builds on in-state efforts to close the skills gap between employee training levels and business needs, such as Future Ready Iowa, registered apprenticeships, internships and other work-based learning opportunities.