Advanced manufacturing makes up the largest single business sector of Iowa’s GDP. Over 6,400 manufacturers contribute nearly $30 billion to Iowa’s economy. Beyond pure economic impact, manufacturing delivers an unmatched combination of employment, wages and geographic distribution.

To demonstrate the state of Iowa’s commitment to strengthening the industry, in 2017, then-Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad declared 2017 the Year of Manufacturing (YOM) in Iowa. With many resources and assets in Iowa’s manufacturing ecosystem supporting Iowa companies, the goal of this initiative was to better align existing efforts and spur additional growth and investment in the industry.

In support of the Year of Manufacturing, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) at Iowa State University worked in close cooperation to identify helpful state programs and services. These efforts culminated in development of this advanced manufacturing toolkit.


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During 2018, these partners worked to address the strategies brought forward from the YOM. To further build upon the strategies, IEDA launched an initiative in 2020 to develop the Iowa Manufacturing 4.0 Plan, focused on understanding how Iowa manufacturers are embracing “Industry 4.0”, and the digital technologies that will transform how products are designed, fabricated, used and serviced. How individual manufacturers deal with the challenges of technology, customer demands, talent and ongoing globalization will impact the industry’s ability to remain viable and competitive.

The Iowa Manufacturing 4.0 Plan will:

  • Assess current trends and challenges facing Iowa manufacturers

  • Examine existing policies and identify opportunities

  • Help SMEs manage the digitalization changes to maintain a competitive advanced manufacturing sector

  • Set state priorities and provide strategic guidance


The goal of the Iowa Manufacturing 4.0 Plan is to transition and maintain a vibrant manufacturing base through strategies that drive competitiveness in the state’s manufacturing sector. In developing the plan, IEDA continues to work with ABI and its members, CIRAS and its contacts, and other industry leaders to ensure industry input from all sectors.


Additionally, work groups designed to provide feedback on the recommendations and strategies developed as a part of the Iowa Manufacturing 4.0 Plan are forming. Additional information and an application are available at Applications must be received or postmarked by March 6.