When it comes to prospective parents choosing the best place to raise their family, Iowa ranks as one of the top states to put down roots.
This ranking was announced in a new study from WalletHub, which compared the 50 states across key indicators of family-friendliness. From health and education to affordability and socioeconomics, Iowa was ranked as the ninth best state overall due to its many benefits that are conducive to a rewarding and fulfilling family life.
Iowa’s workplaces understand the importance of making investments in family-friendly initiatives and policies to attract and retain quality employees. Ankeny manufacturer Kreg Tool, for instance, is one of the many businesses in Iowa prioritizing employees’ needs. Innovation is at the forefront not only for Kreg Tool’s design and production of woodworking tools, but also for policies that support working parents. The company created family benefits that extend from the cradle through college.
Such benefits have been enjoyed by several Kreg Tool employees. Senior Digital Marketing Specialist Whitney Hoff began her career with the company in 2017. When an engineering position opened up, she encouraged her husband Elliot to apply, and he officially joined the company a few months later.
A couple years later, when Whitney and Elliot were expecting their first child, they realized the importance of the company’s parental benefits.
“The biggest pull to Kreg Tool has always been the culture, but something they are trying to convey now is providing the flexibility needed to care for a family, and we can absolutely attest to that,” Elliot said.
Elliot was able to join Whitney for the first six weeks of her maternity leave. Whitney was grateful to have Elliot home for support during those demanding weeks and to bond as a new family.
“I didn’t want to experience all the fun ‘firsts’ without Elliot because he had to work,” Whitney said.
“You never get the time back with your kid,” Elliot added. “It is so valuable not only to have one, but both parents at home in those early stages – it means a lot.”
Another parental benefit that Kreg Tool offers is the opportunity for employees’ children to apply for a $5,000 scholarship to support their two- or four-year college journey. Accounts Receivable Analyst Kristie Gray, a mom of three who started at Kreg Tool in 2015, jumped at the chance to assist her daughter, Savanna, in her academic endeavors.
Around the time that the company introduced the scholarship program, Savanna was in the process of transferring from Baker College to the University of Northern Iowa. Savanna applied and ended up receiving the scholarship for three years in a row, which took lot of stress – and $15,000 in college loans – off her plate.
“The scholarship program is evidence every single day that Kreg Tool cares about us as parents,” Kristie said. “They care about our kids, they care about our well-being, they want us to grow in our jobs, and they want us to grow personally. Kreg Tool is like one big family.”
Kreg Tool continues to contribute to Iowa’s ranking as one of the best states to raise a family by providing working parents with the support and resources they need to succeed in both the workplace and at home.
“It translates to that ‘Iowa nice’ remark that everyone says,” Elliot said. “It’s just easier when the way I want to live my life and the way I want to raise my kids is aligned with Kreg Tool’s company culture and values.”