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A required part of building a diverse and inclusive community is being part of that community. All of MDC Iowa's programs and projects are designed to unite and empower members of the community with an emphasis on those who are underserved, underestimated, and historically disadvantaged.

Through focused outreach, MDC Iowa has helped countless students and young adults imagine their unrealized potential in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and small business ownership.

Addressing the Digital Divide & Diversity in STEM

STEM companies reported an increase of 46% in diversity policies between 2013 and 2017. However, diversity policies do not substantially increase diversity in the workplace. Targeted outreach, however, can work to improve diversity in the STEM workforce. MDC Iowa's STEM Factory provides hands-on learning experiences to remove barriers that would otherwise prevent students of color from discovering an interest in a STEM degree or career.

Through STEM training and education, students gain a deeper understanding of the field. Interest in STEM at a young age can lead to stronger desires to pursue higher education and join a related profession.

With a median salary of $77,400, STEM workers generally earn higher salaries than employees in other occupations which can lead to reducing the generational wealth gap.


Creating Inclusive Economic Development & Equitable Access to Resources

Inclusive economic development is about process & outcome. When inclusive processes and policies stimulate collaboration and focus on the equitable distribution of resources and are purpose-built and place-based, the outcomes from economic growth can be greater for businesses, communities, and workers, including those in historically underinvested groups.

MDC Iowa's BIPOC Business Accelerator and Incubator Program, INCUBATE, provides training, mentorship, business coaching, and access to resources including debt financing.


Building Creative Confidence & Maker/ DIY Mindset

Creative confidence is the belief that everyone is creative, and that creativity isn't the capacity to draw or compose or sculpt, but a way of approaching the world. Building confidence can start with increasing access to tools and knowledge sharing. The INNOV8 idea Lab addresses both of these by providing access to high-tech and no-tech resources ranging from 3D printers, laser engravers, and CNC machines to woodworking tools like planers, routers, drills, saws, and joiners.


MDC Iowa's commitment to improving climate awareness aligns with our mission to inspire and promote community involvement in reducing energy use, encouraging low-emissions transportation, reducing consumption of materials and valuable resources, and supporting sustainable lifestyle choices.

The recent Climate Action project event was designed to support the City of Iowa City's Climate Adaptation goals of establishing extreme weather-related emergency and preparedness plans, and communicating and building the capacity of vulnerable groups to understand these types of plans. By providing underserved community members access to technology, engaging them in understanding what extreme weather is and how to prepare for these types of events, and introducing the community to the city’s climate action plan which includes:

  • Increase energy efficiency

  • Encourage low or no-emissions transportation

  • Minimize waste and/or consumption of valuable resources

  • Support and promote sustainable activities and connections

  • Promote preparedness and resilience

Resilient Sustainable Future for Iowa City

Through a partnership with RSFIC, MDC Iowa is part of a new initiative to build a culture of resilience by shifting the narrative and joining in solidarity with our neighbors around Iowa City. RSFIC offers grants of space, time, and money, and they are sticking with folks for the long haul.

MDC Iowa is a member of the Nexus space, a new intentional community of leaders on Keokuk Street in Iowa City. RSFIC established the space and welcomed MDC Iowa to show that low-cost, high-care investments like this could be a normal way to improve the diversity of our community.

We share a belief with our fellow Nexus community space members that the fundamental problem is that our prevalent culture has us giving our power away. We want to help shift our culture to value our own long-term strength.

The RSFIC plan has two parts:

  • Shift The Narrative

  • Join Our Neighbors

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