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Education Drives our Greater Economy

Education Drives our Greater Economy (EDGE) is a shared regional goal of ensuring 75 percent of Greater Des Moines (DSM) working-age adults have degrees, certificates and other credentials by 2025 that align with workforce needs. This goal will be met with a combination of attracting and retaining talented people in DSM, ensuring a strong cradle through career education system and providing opportunities for the current labor pool to gain new skills. EDGE’s goal and tactics were collaboratively developed by 140 private and public partners who recognize the role education and business play in building a sustainable talent pipeline. The Greater Des Moines Partnership is committed to carrying out the 75x25 goal through its work.

DSM is the fastest-growing metro in the Midwest Education Drives our Greater Economyand has been recognized as the top place in the country to do business by publications including Forbes. To keep the positive momentum, the region must increase its talent pool and develop the right talent to meet workforce needs. Industries such as finance, health care, advanced manufacturing and others report challenges in finding a sufficient number of qualified workers to fill open positions. The Partnership, through EDGE, is committed to addressing the critical need to solving the skills gap facing DSM employers, and it is committed to helping improve the educational pipeline that is crucial to achieving a skilled workforce and human talent pipeline. To help carry out these tactics, EDGE engages:

  • Local parents and prospective residents with Pre-K to higher education students.
  • The business community to cultivate further upskilling of existing workforce.
  • Working-age adults interested in gaining new or expanding career skills.
  • An untapped talent pool, ensuring all are capable of reaching their full skill potential.

DSM employers can get involved by providing employees opportunities to complete a certificate, credential or degree, providing industry training to employees to help them gain needed skills and working with area educational institutions to inform them of workforce needs. Educators can work with businesses to make sure their curriculum is preparing students to meet workforce needs and work with students to understand how specific skills can lead to a valuable career.


Research shows more than 70 percent of jobs in Greater Des Moines (DSM) by 2025 will require some postsecondary experience including certifications, credentials, two-year degrees, four-year degrees and beyond. To meet this challenge, EDGE is a regional goal of 75x25 — ensuring by 2025 that 75 percent of the region’s working-age population has a post-secondary experience aligned to employer needs. Currently in the region, 79.3 percent of the adult population has some education past High School. Of that percentage, 61.7 percent have obtained a certificate, vocational training, two-year degree or above.

The report card below outlines educational attainment trends from 2008 to 2016 for residents in the 25-to-64-year-old age range in The Partnership’s eight-county service area — showing progress to-date in reaching the 75x25 goal. Download a printable version.

Education Drives Our Greater Economy Printable Report Card


EDGE is intended to engage the community in support and ownership. By believing in and upholding the goals of EDGE 75x25, you are joining a common agenda to make a greater impact in DSM. Join the movement! The success of our community’s people depends on it. 

Interested in sharing your company, school or individual experience with education in DSM? Write a blog for us! Contact ambassadors@DSMpartnership.com with your topic ideas.