Advanced Manufacturing

Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) and its Sponsors and Partners focus on firms in the Iowa's manufacturing industryadvanced manufacturing industry cluster because of our demonstrated history of manufacturing excellence. Iowa’s advanced manufacturing industry remains diverse, and not overly dependent on any one sector for its economic fortune. Iowa manufacturing companies share a common interest in the use of advanced manufacturing processes, and together they all benefit from proximity to a community of firms that share knowledge, training, resources and suppliers.

With more than $13.3 billion worth of manufactured and value-added goods shipped out of the country, manufacturing accounts for 88 percent of Iowa’s total exports. Since 2001, Iowa manufacturing exports have grown by 179 percent – nearly 73 percent more that the nation as a whole.

Iowa's Supportive Infrastructure

  • Iowa has the physical infrastructure to support the advanced manufacturing industries including an extensive road, rail and airport network that link Iowa businesses with the rest of the world, two of the nation's major river transportation systems and abundant energy and water capacity.
  • Highly skilled workforce: Iowa's well-educated and dedicated workforce is a recognized asset to advanced manufacturing firms. The state's network of University-driven manufacturing-oriented research and community college training programs help drive productivity.
  • Pre-existing core competency: Iowa is a community of world-class advanced manufacturing firms that include many firms recognized for quality, efficiency and profitability.
  • Government support: Iowa offers extraordinary industrial training programs as well as technical and financial assistance.
  • Cluster collaboration: Iowa currently boasts supplier training programs and advanced research and commercialization projects as examples of inter-firm collaboration.

Iowa’s Advanced Manufacturing Industry Make-Up

  • The community consists of more than 4,000 firms employing about 210,000 workers.
  • The advanced manufacturing sector employs 14% of the state’s total workforce — 36% higher than the national employment distribution for manufacturing.
  • Advanced manufacturing is Iowa’s largest industry contributing $25 billion annually to the state’s economy. This represents 16.7 percent of the GDP.
  • Iowa exported $13.8 billion worth of manufactured and value-added goods. (Global Trade Information Service, 2013)

Growth in Iowa’s Advanced Manufacturing Sectors

  • Agricultural Feedstock & Chemicals (Biosciences)
  • “Cleantech” (defined here to include ethanol, batteries, wind turbines, environmental controls, air purification equipment, etc.)
  • Meat Processing
  • Research, Engineering, & Industrial Design Services

Physical Infrastructure Supporting Advanced Manufacturing Firms

Iowa is in the heart of the United States with a strong transportation network to support Iowa companies. Trucks originating in Iowa can reach 83 million people within one day’s drive and 252 million people within two days’ drive. Freight and rail shipments can reach vital markets like Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Omaha and Kansas City in just a few short hours.

  • Iowa has 109 publicly-owned airports, including 101 general and 8 commercial service airports. These facilities annually accommodate 2.5 million passengers and transport 175 million pounds of cargo.
  • Iowa is crisscrossed by 3,947 miles of rail freight track, used by 19 freight carriers to carry over 43.7 million tons of freight that originates in Iowa. Iowa also has two transcontinental Amtrak passenger routes.
  • Waterways in Iowa carry more than 12 million tons of freight each year.
  • With 112,904 miles of highway, Iowa's roadway system ranks 12th in the nation.

The State of Iowa has taken favorable action to provide for reliable, abundant and affordable electric utility capacity. IADG Sponsors and Partners play a large role in generation, transmission and distribution of affordable, reliable electricity. Natural gas is readily available throughout the state. Iowa has 20 rural water systems that cover the state that have the capacity to supply large volumes of affordable treated and non-treated water to rural locations.

Productive Workforce Supporting Iowa Employers

Iowa has all of the key elements to provide a smart productive workforce necessary to foster business growth.

  • Iowa workers tend to stay on the job for 12+ years.
  • Iowa consistently is in the top ranks in college entrance exam scores.
  • Iowa students have an 84 percent high school graduation rate, placing Iowa among the top five states.

Additional Resources

Iowa Industry Fact Sheet - Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)
Manufacturing in Iowa - Study by ISU Extension and Outreach Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)