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Bipartisan ‘Iowa Opportunity Forum’ to be held November 16-17, 2015

Bipartisan ‘Iowa Opportunity Forum’ to be held November 16-17, 2015

Bipartisan forum on revitizaling the American Dream will engage presidential candidates in Iowa; Honorary co-chairs former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin; former U.S. Representative Tom Latham; Dr. Andy McGuire, Chair, Iowa Democratic Party; Jeff Kaufmann, Chair, Republican Party of Iowa

DES MOINES, IA – On November 16, Opportunity Nation and Des Moines Area Community College will co-host a cross-sector, bipartisan forum focused on solutions to close the opportunity gap for all Americans, particularly building critical education and career pathways for young adults. All major 2016 presidential candidates will be invited to address the event’s 500 attendees and lay out their plan to expand access to the American Dream.

“Increasing economic mobility, particularly for our nation’s young adults, is the most urgent task facing the next president of the United States,” said Russell Krumnow, Opportunity Nation’s Managing Director. “Engaging the candidates in the ‘first-in-the-nation’ state of Iowa is a powerful way to both elevate this critical issue and give Americans the chance to learn more about the vision of each candidate to accomplish that goal.”

Honorary co-chairs include former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and former Congressman Tom Latham, and the chairs of the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties, Dr. Andy McGuire and Jeff Kaufmann, respectively. The forum will be invitation-only, and held at Des Moines Area Community College, the largest community college in Iowa.

“Opportunity is the overriding issue of our time,” said former Sen. Harkin (D-IA). “How we shape the debate and propose solutions will determine our nation’s social and economic status for the 21st century.”

“Hard work, perseverance and the belief in a brighter future have always been hallmarks of our country,” said former Rep. Latham (R-IA). “Creating new economic opportunities must be the focus of all elected officials.”

“Ensuring Americans, especially young Americans, have access to innovative job training is critical to our nation’s ability to compete in a global economy,” said Jeff Kaufmann, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. “Iowans can lead the charge in jump-starting the American Dream for the next generation.”

“We must deepen the public conversation around expanding opportunity and building an economy that works for all Iowans,” said Dr. Andy McGuire, Chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party. “If we commit to bringing public, private and nonprofit sectors together, we can create strong educational and career pathways.”

The forum will highlight Iowa’s leadership in expanding opportunity through the Opportunity Iowa coalition and its commitment to decreasing the number of “disconnected” young adults (youth ages 16 to 24 who are neither in school nor working) via innovative skills training partnerships and cross-sector collaborations. The event is timed to significantly advance the national conversation about economic and social mobility prior to the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

“Ensuring that our young people have access to educational and economic opportunity is good for communities, good for businesses and good for the nation,” said Rob Denson, President of Des Moines Area Community College and Chair of Opportunity Nation’s Leadership Council. “We believe that when schools, employers, colleges and nonprofits work together, we can help our young people embark on meaningful education and career pathways that will improve not just their lives, but their neighborhoods and our economy.”

About Opportunity Nation:

Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national coalition of more than 300 businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and community leaders working to expand economic opportunity. Opportunity Nation seeks to close the opportunity gap by amplifying the work of its coalition members, advocating policy and private sector actions, and releasing the annual Opportunity Index.


Cara Willis
Director of Communications, Opportunity Nation

About Des Moines Area Community College:

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is the largest community college in Iowa, offering 168 programs, certificates and transfer degrees. It serves more than 75,000 credit and non-credit students annually at campuses and learning centers throughout Central Iowa. Under the leadership of President Rob Denson, DMACC is committed to cross-sector partnerships designed to engage, educate and employ young adults such as Opportunity Iowa.


Rob Denson
President, Des Moines Area Community College

Opportunity Nation is non-partisan and we do not support or endorse any political candidate or political party. ​Candidates are invited to speak at the Iowa Opportunity Forum based on receiving at least one percent of support in recent polling. Campaigning and political fundraising is prohibited.


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