Pillar Technology Proves Western Iowa Is A Perfect Place for High Tech
18 May 2020
Western Iowa has everything a cutting edge technology consulting firm needs---location amenities, connectivity, and great people---according to Linc Kroeger, Rural Revitalization & Inclusion Lead at Accenture. That’s why Jefferson, a rural community of under 5,000, was chosen by Pillar Technology, part of Accenture Industry X.0, as the home for their new addition to their worldwide network of innovative business solutions studios called Forges.
First, they readily found a building with expansive square footage right on the town square. In addition, there were capital sources to complete the office build-out and enterprise business class fiber Internet connectivity with built-in Internet backbone dual-redundancy.
They also found a population pool of around 20,000 within a 20-30 miles radius, and had a 90-minute proximity to their existing Des Moines Forge and employee base. But maybe even more important was the quality of the people who call this area home. Kroeger found Jefferson to have “a unified and capable community leadership team” and “residents who supported creating a better future for their community and children.”
However, Pillar Technology is not just in Jefferson to take advantage of what the community has to offer, but to improve it by shaping it as a springboard to boost the state’s tech pool.
“Many people who grow up in rural America feel they must inevitably relocate to pursue their education,” said Kroeger. “We can keep talent in rural areas by helping students gain valuable technology skills, which are critical for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Pillar Technologies and Corteva Agriscience teamed with the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and Iowa Central Community College to foster Computer Languages programs to train the Western Iowa workforce for the digital economy.
“Des Moines Area Community College is a great partner and President Rob Denson is ‘all in’ committed to the same excellence in the rural campuses as the urban campuses,” said Kroeger. “Greene County High School faculty and students are looking forward to Iowa Central Community College opening their new Career Academy in Jefferson this Fall .”
As a matter of fact, the intense training begins in high school, moves through the community college courses, and ends with four months of free training at the Jefferson Forge Academy. Students then have the opportunity to apply for a paid six-month apprenticeship at the Jefferson Forge, or to anywhere else they desire because the education they receive has no strings attached.
Not only is this fast-track training that positions graduates for good-paying jobs with little debt available to students with the drive to succeed, Pillar and Corteva Agriscience have established 25 Rural Forge Scholarships at DMACC. In addition to the $187,500 that Corteva Agriscience donated, Microsoft’s CTO, Kevin Scott, also donated $25,000 into the scholarship fund.
Kroeger attributes Pillar Technologies success to recruiting and retaining the best talent, and their Jefferson Forge has added a new source of diverse talent to their team. The educated and industrious workforce of Iowa paired with the lower cost of living has certainly caught the eye, and the capital, of Silicon Valley. Tech companies looking to expand and improve should consider the region for future endeavors. Contact Western Iowa Advantage to learn more about the region, workforce, and available sites.