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Tag Archives: education

University of Northern Iowa and Hawkeye Community College to Introduce Leader in Me and Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

WATERLOO, November 2015— Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, is excited to announce an opportunity for pre-service teachers from both Hawkeye Community College and UNI’s Teacher Education programs. Led by the University of Northern Iowa, Hawkeye Community College, and Leader Valley, the Leader In Me Workshop will be held Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 8:30-12:00 p.m. at UNI’s Maucker Union.

During the workshop, soon-to-be teachers will have the opportunity to not only learn about Leader in Me, but also how to integrate the 7 Habits into their own lives as college students and future educators. The 7 Habits are vital to being an effective person and possessing the 21st Century skills that employers are seeking in the workforce. The college students in attendance will hear first-hand from education and community leaders, local PreK-12 school administrators, and see student leadership first hand.

“This workshop represents the wonderful connections that exist in the Cedar Valley,” says Dr. Terri Lasswell, Head of the Department of Teaching at the University of Northern Iowa. “What a great way for us to model collaboration for our future teachers.” Catharine Freeman, Dean of Communication, Humanities, Education, and Fine Arts at Hawkeye Community College, concurs. Freeman says, “We value the partnership that has developed with UNI and Leader Valley, because we are jointly preparing students to make a profound difference as teacher leaders in our Cedar Valley schools as they put theory into practice.”

Leader Valley Director Melissa Reade says, “This workshop is the result of Habit 6 in action, synergy at its best. It’s exciting for our community and schools when faculty from UNI and Hawkeye can come together with PreK-12 administrators to present an exciting opportunity like this for our future educators,” says Reade. “It’s a ‘win-win’ for all involved, which happens to be Habit 4.”

The Leader Valley talent initiative, born out of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber’s priority to develop a strong workforce and to strengthen business and education collaboration, has been formed to expand the reach of leadership and 21st Century soft skill development opportunities to all students in the Cedar Valley. Nineteen Cedar Valley schools are already implementing Leader in Me in their buildings, with more schools anticipated to follow across the Cedar Valley.

For more information on Leader in Me and other Leader Valley talent initiatives of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, contact Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director, at 319-232-1156 or by visiting www.cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

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Cedar Valley receives 2015 Community of Character Award

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Leader Valley congratulate Cedar Valley Character Counts and the Cedar Valley region of northeast Iowa for being honored by the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University as its 2015 Community of Character.

The Ray Center, formerly known as Character Counts in Iowa, issues the Community of Character award annually to an Iowa community that has developed an active task force and comprehensive, sustained community-wide initiative to support good character and has integrated character development throughout the community.

A CHARACTER COUNTS! in the Cedar Valley committee has developed synergistic partnerships with groups in the Cedar Valley area, including the University of Northern Iowa and the Iowa Youth Sports Initiative, to promote the Six Pillars of Character—trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

“The values promoted by Cedar Valley Character Counts are helping to instill leadership qualities in students throughout the Cedar Valley,” says Dr. Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director. ” We are fortunate in the Cedar Valley to have organizations like this who care about preparing our students to live a life of leadership and success.”

Cedar Valley representatives received the honor during the 2015 Iowa Character Awards Dinner on Friday, July 31, at Prairie Meadows Event Center in Altoona. A volunteer selection committee of nearly 50 members selected the community for the award.

The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University promotes leadership, civility, and ethics through applied research, programming, training, and scholarly publications.

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Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Business Education Series

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting three seminars for business professionals during the month of May. The Business Education Series is a local link to information on timely issues that influence the business bottom line. May seminars will focus on simple office changes that save money and improve the work environment, data security to mitigate exposure, and employee wellness. These seminars will give attendees instant access to “do it now” business growth tools.  Each program will feature experts and a question and answer period.

The May 13 session “Solutions That Improve Your Business Environment Inside & Out” will be presented by Pete Olsen, Energy Services Manager at Cedar Falls Utilities, Dan Channer, Partner at StruXture Architects. The focus will be on energy efficiency, waste reduction, and water conservation. Additionally, Ellen Woods, Director of Sales at Integrated Interior Solutions Group Kirk Gross Company, will address creating an environment and culture in which employees can thrive.

The May 20 session on “Data Security” will be presented by Chris Fereday, President of PDCM Insurance, and Dave Wyant, Account Manager of Sales at Networking Solutions. They will present information to help area business leaders understand how to navigate the complexity of privacy/cyber liability exposure and provide valuable insight about how to mitigate exposures.

On May 27 the topic will be “Business Sense of Wellness.” Liz DeJoode, Wellness Consultant at PDCM Insurance, will speak on their approach to help employers win the battles against increasing healthcare costs. Additionally, learn from UnityPoint/Allen Hospital, Veridian Credit Union and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare on how they implement wellness programs on site.

Each seminar will take place at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in downtown Waterloo, IA, from 7:30-9:00 AM.  The cost is $25 per seminar for Alliance & Chamber investors and $45 per seminar for non-investors and includes breakfast. Please register one week in advance of each seminar by calling (319) 232-1156 or email bwubenna@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The premier sponsor is PDCM Insurance and the gold sponsors are Around the Corner Productions and First National Bank.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development. The Business Education Series is one of many initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber designed to sustain and strengthen businesses and organizations in the Cedar Valley Region of Iowa. Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

 

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Nationally Recognized Education Reformer, Geoffrey Canada to Speak to Cedar Valley Business Leaders & Educators

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with FranklinCovey’s 2015 Leader in Me Symposium, invites business leaders and educators to an opportunity to synergize as author and children’s advocate Geoffrey Canada brings a keynote address on education reform. Mr. Canada’s speech is the keynote presentation of the FranklinCovey’s 2015 Leader in Me Symposium.

The presentation will take place on April 24, 2015, at 2:30PM in Lang Hall Auditorium on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls.  The cost for the event is $25.00. Registrations for the keynote event are being taken through the Alliance & Chamber website, cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling the Alliance & Chamber at 319-232-1156.

The opportunity to hear Canada’s presentation is made possible through Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Alliance & Chamber. Leader Valley’s primary focus is implementation of Leader in Me across school districts in the Cedar Valley. The Leader in Me, based on the Steven CCovey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is creating leadership cultures in schools and instilling 21st Century soft skills of effectiveness in Cedar Valley students. The unprecedented scope and success of the Cedar Valley initiative has drawn attention from FranklinCovey who chose this area for one of 18 regional symposiums. Symposiums are traditionally held in larger cities. Cedar Valley Leader in Me schools will be showcased to educators from around the Midwest during the three day event at the University of Northern Iowa with tours and demonstrations across the Cedar Valley April 22-24.

For more information about the Leader in Me Symposium, visit www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium. You can also learn more by contacting Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling (319)232-1156 or by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The Alliance & Chamber is taking registration for Geoffrey Canada’s keynote session only. Registration to this session does not provide access to any other portions of the Leader in Me Symposium. To register for the Iowa Symposium, please visit http://www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium.

 

 

 

About Geoffrey Canada

In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.

Since 1990, Canada has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which The New York Times Magazine called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” In October 2005, Canada was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News and World Report.

The work of Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, CBS This Morning, The Charlie Rose Show, and NPR’s On Point, as well in articles in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, USA Today, and Newsday. Most recently, Canada can be seen prominently featured in the Davis Guggenheim documentary Waiting for Superman.

Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he was able to succeed academically, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard School of Education. After graduating from Harvard, Canada decided to work to help children who, like himself, were disadvantaged by their lives in poor, embattled neighborhoods.

 

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The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The strong and growing Cedar Valley economy contains the right conditions for business and career success. Current economic growth and its demand for quality talent is benefiting manufacturing, business services, retail, housing, education, healthcare and other enterprises that contribute to the vitality of the region.

Strong Cedar Valley job market is creating opportunity and raising income.

According to Smart Solutions Group, employment in the Cedar Valley Region Labor Market grew by 7.4% from 2003 to 2013, slightly above the State of Iowa during the same period. As of November 1st, Iowajobs.org, the web-based job board of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), shows 1,504 positions currently available in the Cedar Valley. Many of these jobs are in the advanced manufacturing sector. Welders and CNC operators are among the many positions available in advanced manufacturing operations in the Cedar Valley.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber recently surveyed Cedar Valley employers regarding their immediate employment needs. “We’ve identified businesses in the Cedar Valley region with immediate openings,” reports Danny Laudick, Talent Solutions Coordinator with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  “We are coordinating efforts to match available talent with these companies or with training in the fields where there is greatest demand.”
Connecting to training

The Alliance & Chamber collaborates with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and Hawkeye Community College (HCC) and other agencies to connect talent with employment and training opportunities through career and resource fairs, data collection and sharing.  There is ongoing collaboration between employers and agencies to design programs to stay ahead of shifts in demand and provide rapid response to immediate workforce needs. The Alliance & Chamber identifies the specific employment needs in the Cedar Valley business community and acts as the voice of business. The Alliance & Chamber develops innovative solutions to solve talent issues. They use their network of partners and affiliate to bring others into the process.

In response to local demand, Hawkeye Community College now offers short term certifications for industrial maintenance and CNC machining programs. The CNC Machining Program prepares students for high demand, entry-level positions as a CNC machine operator or general machinist, one of the most demanded skills by area employers in the Cedar Valley. Both programs are designed to create a pipeline of available talent with new skills to fill these high demand jobs in a short amount of time.

The Department of Industrial Technology at the University of Northern Iowa also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of: Construction Management; Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Technology, Technology Education, and Technology Management. The UNI Metal Casting Center, offers students practical hands-on experience in concepts in additive manufacturing with modern well-equipped facilities and cutting edge technology. At the Additive Manufacturing Center, located at the Cedar Valley TechWorks, students operate a variety of 3D printers, including the ExOne, the largest of its kind in North America.  Students are producing products and part prototypes for manufacturing clients across state.  UNI students are ‘floor ready’ upon graduation having had real world experience working with private sector businesses on actual projects. The Center also provides manufacturers affordable access to research and development and rapid prototyping. The Department of Industrial Technology currently enrolls over 500 students annually.

K-12 Career Training

Cedar Valley school districts are making sure their students are prepare for success beyond graduation through a variety of initiatives and partnerships with the business community.

In the Waterloo Community School District, Career Academies give students the opportunity to choose an area of interest, such as construction, business and finance, marketing, engineering, healthcare, etc. Students then take a sequence of classes to prepare for the real world of work in that field. Waterloo also has an International Baccalaureate Program which is an intensive, two year academic program in the high schools that prepares students for success in higher education and for effective participation in global society. The program includes writing an extended essay (similar to a doctorate thesis, but at high school level), a focus on critical thinking as well as creativity, action, and service activities. Waterloo’s West High and East High are two of only three schools in Iowa to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Both the Waterloo and Cedar Falls school districts have embraced the Leader in Me initiative championed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The Leader in Me is based on Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The initiative teaches students 21st Century soft skills for success in college, career, and citizenship. Through authentic leadership opportunities and daily practice of the habits, participating schools are transforming their school cultures into proactive, leadership focused communities of learning and development.

Cedar Valley West’s School to Work program brings together students from four Cedar Valley school districts (Aplington-Parkersburg, Dike-New Hartford, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, and Grundy Center) to provide valuable career information and connections to area businesses. Businesses are asked to provide speakers, offer internship and job shadowing opportunities, give worksite tours and contribute financial support.

Through the School to Work program, students throughout the Cedar Valley are becoming more prepared for the local job market. Businesses are molding potential employees by creating hands-on ways for students to explore careers while still in high school. Business – education partnerships like these are helping to bridge the talent gap and produce individuals prepared for employers across sectors in the Cedar Valley.

Diverse Economic Base
The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Cedar Valley Regional Partners have placed diversifying the economic base as a top priority of business attraction . . . and it has paid off. The diversified economic base has created jobs and helped the region weather the last recession far better than most parts of the country earning the Cedar Valley the title “Recession Busting” by Area Development Magazine, a leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection.  The Cedar Valley is not reliant on one sector to maintain the health of the economy.

Since 1996, 76% of new jobs created in the Cedar Valley have not been tied to a single industry, specifically agricultural manufacturing. Likewise, 81% of the new capital investments in the Cedar Valley were equally diversified during the same time. This diverse industrial base provides increased opportunities for wealth creation and employment in the event of a downturn in one sector.

“Most new capital investment has come from companies who have expanded existing operations here or established new locations in a broad spectrum of industry sector. This is consistent with new construction and new jobs created,” notes Lisa Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development with the Alliance & Chamber.

Adding to the industry mix is the growing Information Technology (IT) sector. In the Cedar Valley, IT consists of local start-up web product and software companies, and is among the fastest growing sector in percentage of current workforce in the Cedar Valley market area. Enterprises also see internal IT operations increasing and contributing to the growing demand for highly skilled programmers, engineers, coders, and designers in the Cedar Valley.

Conversations with technology leaders in the Cedar Valley suggest that IT employers are increasing their employment by up to 50% or more over the next few years.  This makes availability of trained/educated individuals critical. The Alliance & Chamber, Kate Washut of Far Reach Inc., and Linda Allen of Hawkeye Community College (HCC) convened a discussion between Alliance & Chamber investors in the IT sector and HCC academic and career education teams. The group discussed courses, training, and programs available through Hawkeye, and the expectations of the employers. Dialogs like this, between business and education, are vital to better understand of specific skill demand in order to offer training programs that are most relevant to industry needs.

 

“The strong job market is creating opportunities for individuals to take advantage of an increase in training opportunities and raising personal income,” says Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “We see growing demand across industry sectors. IT related fields, advanced manufacturing, higher education, healthcare, logistics, and business service markets make up the employment landscape of the Cedar Valley.  The competitive wage scales being offered go much further here than in most areas of the country thanks to our low cost of living.”

The cost of living in the Cedar Valley is 8.1% lower than the national average according to third quarter 2014 Cost of Living Index prepared by The Council for Community and Economic Research. Utility costs are an even greater value, at 10.4% below the national average – a key factor for companies looking to locate or expand their operations.

While the cost of living is low, prosperity is on the rise in Cedar Valley. According to the new US Cluster Mapping website launched by Harvard Business School and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Cedar Valley Region is one of a handful of regions with growth in prosperity from 1998 -2012. Our economic region ranks 7th among 170 economic regions in the country for prosperity growth. The scorecard is based on three categories of data: performance (the economic activities of the region), business environment, and demographics & geography. The Cedar Valley is also in the top 20 regions for growth in annual personal wages at 3.49%.  This outpaces the national average of 3.16% during the same period.

Low cost of living and strong personal wages may contribute to an increase in spending. In September of 2014, the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers were released showing considerable growth in the Cedar Valley. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (GDP) grew to $8.7 billion from 2012-2013. This is up 5.6% from the previous year, according to data released in September from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Collectively, real GDP for U.S. metropolitan areas increased 1.7% during the same period. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area had the second highest percentage increase in GDP compared to other Iowa metros.

These gauges of economic health demonstrate the strength and continued growth of an already stable Cedar Valley economy and instill confidence both in consumers and business leaders. Recent announcements of business expansions reflect confidence and optimism in the region.

Business Confidence and Private Investment

Cedar Valley businesses across the region are making investments in their companies. Increasing exports, and hiring talented, productive people demonstrates their confidence in the strength of the Cedar Valley economy.

CBE Companies, with international locations, chooses to keep their corporate headquarters here in the Cedar Valley where their success started over 80 years ago. “We continue to tap into a rich talent pool in our own backyard to fill a variety of positions and levels – from contact center associates to fraud service representatives to IT, Analytics, Finance, Marketing and HR professionals,” says Mary Phillips, Chief Human Resources Officer for CBE Companies.

Based on a variety of regional data, CBE has determined that the Cedar Valley has the talent resources available to expand their staff considerably.  “We use information from both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Iowa Workforce Development when considering expansion.  We evaluated unemployment rates, education levels, Spanish speaking population, underemployment, average wages, and average ages.”  Over the last year, CBE has had two major surges in hiring making them one of the top ten major employers in the Cedar Valley.

Mark Hanawalt is the CEO of United Equipment Accessories, Inc. (UEA) in Waverly, Iowa and the current chair of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). He often shares with peers from around the state that the Cedar Valley is a great place to do business. “They know about the Cedar Valley and never disagree,” notes Hanawalt. UEA has found that being part of a regional economy driven by advanced manufacturing has contributed to their growth. “Because of the presence of very large manufacturers in the area, we can utilize a common vendor base with tremendous capabilities without having to go outside the area.”

UEA invests in training and development opportunities that contribute to the personal and professional growth of their employees.  UEA provides training for new hires, development opportunities with specifically designed skills enhancement training, job cross-training, as well as a Tuition Assistance Program for employees. Highly technical positions, such as CNC programmers, machinists, engineers and IT professionals regularly participate in training opportunities relating to technology advancements and developments, job knowledge enhancement, computer software and system developments and updates.

“United Equipment Accessories, Inc. has been a Cedar Valley manufacturer for over 60 years.  Even as we have grown substantially over the years, we have never felt the need to expand outside this area,” says Hanawalt. “Our pool of labor talent is very high.  Employees are well educated, trained, and motivated to be productive employees.”

Start-up Momentum

While long standing businesses continue to expand, the start-up community in the Cedar Valley is picking up momentum at a rapid pace. ‘Serial’ entrepreneurs and young visionaries are gathering in coffee shops, bars, and meeting rooms around the Cedar Valley to share ideas and connect with resources in hopes of launching the next big thing. Start-Up Drinks, Start-Up Weekend, BarCamp, One Million Cups, Cedar Valley Opencoffee, and Cedar Valley Makers are a few of the organized efforts to support a young and energetic start-up community.

Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber, believes that “the prosperity of the Cedar Valley still depends on fostering, growing, and attracting entrepreneurship in all types of businesses. We want to encourage more people to build on our history of successful entrepreneurship, and the Alliance & Chamber supports efforts to enhance the strong, growing start-up scene throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.”

The Cedar Valley is thriving

With an abundance of good paying jobs and access to higher education, the Cedar Valley offers a wealth of opportunities for individuals to grow their careers. Businesses are thriving and making significant investments in the region by expanding their operations through building projects, new processes, equipment, technology, and talent. The lower cost of living, excellent school districts, and overall safety make it a desirable place to live, work, and raise a family.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development. Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

Alliance & Chamber Launches New Website to Showcase Leadership in Cedar Valley Schools

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased to announce the launch of a new website, leadervalley.org. This new resource features the Leader in Me initiative that is transforming leadership cultures in Cedar Valley schools.  The Leader in Me is a whole school education transformation process that teaches leadership principles to students in K-12 schools and embeds leadership as a core within their school culture. Leader in Me was developed by corporate and personal leadership trainer Franklin-Covey.

The site and a series of new videos, created in partnership with Mudd Advertising, highlight Cedar Valley students, business leaders, and educators and the impact of Leader in Me in Cedar Valley schools.

Business leaders will see how Leader in Me is investing in tomorrow’s workforce and helping to build a stronger pool of talent.  Examples of how 21st century soft skills are being infused into the school culture are detailed on the site, as well as demonstrations of how authentic leadership opportunities are preparing students to be effective in college, career, and citizenship.

Statistics demonstrating the impact Leader in Me is having in the Cedar Valley is an important component of the site, along with an events calendar, latest news, and testimonials from educators and community leaders. There are also valuable resources for educators, information for parents and community members, and pages that include student leadership projects and stories.

“This new website really is a showcase of the Leader the Me in the Cedar Valley. It is the one place you can see all the exciting things taking place in all of our schools. The amazing student leaders are really the highlight of the site,” says Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director. “We believe that once you go to the site, you will understand the significant role Leader in Me has in the future of the Cedar Valley.”

The Leader Valley talent initiative, born out of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber’s priority to develop a strong workforce has been formed to expand the reach of leadership and 21st Century skill and leadership development opportunities to all students in the Cedar Valley. The Leader in Me is the primary focus of Leader Valley. For more information, visit the new website at www.leadervalley.org or contact Melissa Reade at (319)232-1156 or mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.
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Governor, IPEP release findings of 2014 Battelle Report, a new economic development roadmap for Iowa

Governor Terry Branstad joined representatives from the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress (IPEP) — the state’s CEO-level, industry-led advisory board co-chaired by the Governor and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds – to release the findings of the 2014 Battelle Report: Iowa’s Re-envisioned Economic Development Roadmap. The Battelle Technology Partnership Practice was commissioned by IPEP and the Iowa Business Council to conduct this comprehensive analysis.

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber CEO, Steven Dust, was a member of the task force and Past Board Chair, Tom Penaluna, serves on the IPEP Board of Directors. Randy Pilkington and Drew Conrad of the University of Northern Iowa Business and Community Services provided data support.

“Thanks to the IPEP board and the Iowa Business Council, we now have a roadmap for the future,” said Governor Branstad. “These business leaders – in addition to their day jobs of running Iowa’s top businesses – have given of their time and resources to make sure Iowa has a focused plan to achieve success. We are grateful for their leadership.”

Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit independent research and development organization. The Technology Partnership Practice (TPP) assists local, state, and regional organizations, universities, nonprofit technology organizations, and others in designing, implementing, and assessing technology-based economic development programs. Over the past 18 months, researchers from Battelle have been working with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and regional economic development organizations around the state to conduct the study. The comprehensive report reviews Iowa’s industry drivers and potential growth opportunities. It also looks at how the state has fared in advancing innovation, job attraction and retention since the last roadmap was developed in 2004-2005.

“IPEP is charged with advising the state on economic trends that will affect Iowa’s economy and to create a long-term strategy to keep Iowa ahead of the pack,” said Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy and IPEP board member. “With a third-party analysis of the state’s resources, assets and existing gaps, IPEP now has both the qualitative and quantitative foundation on which to base our strategy development. Further, the Battelle Report gives us a call-to-action that will help our elected officials, policymakers, economic developers and business leaders know what strategic priorities we must embrace if we are to achieve economic success over the next decade.”

The executive summary and full report can be downloaded at iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/battelle. Some key findings identified in the report are below:

The Battelle Report takes a look at Iowa’s current position, as compared to the nation and benchmarked states. Due in part to the focused work over the past several years, Iowa is faring well. Some identified successes include:

  • Restructuring of IEDA and streamlining of funding programs
  • Creating better private/public partnerships
  • Better collaboration of stakeholders
  • Improved marketing of Iowa and its assets

Iowa has made substantial economic progress over the last decade, resulting in positive trends in Iowa’s top-line measures of success:

  • Productivity is high — As of 2013, Iowa’s economic output, in real, inflation-adjusted terms, was 5.9% higher than the pre-recession levels of 2007, outpacing the national growth of 4.7% during the same period.
  • Job growth and workforce are strong — Iowa outperformed the nation in the growth of both middle and high-skilled jobs. At the same time, the number of low-skill jobs has actually declined as both employers and employees transition to a more skilled workforce.
  • Wages are rising — Iowa substantially outpaced national gains in private sector average wages.  This is consistent with the rising workforce skill levels in Iowa and an increase in the number of higher quality jobs.
  • Per capita income is growing — While record farm incomes have driven a substantial increase in per capita income during the last decade, from 2007 to 2013, Iowa’s nonfarm personal income also grew 20%, eclipsing national growth of 14% over the same period.

The Battelle Report makes recommendations for strategic priorities that Iowa must adopt to competitively position the state in a global economy. Recommendations (Strategic Priorities) include:

  • Build on the competitiveness and growth of Iowa’s industry clusters through innovation, retention and attraction.
  • Generate and attract skilled workforce in demand by Iowa’s businesses.
  • Accelerate the development of Iowa’s emerging entrepreneurial eco-system.
  • Advance Iowa’s physical infrastructure and regional development capacities to realize Iowa’s economic potential.

“This report is such a valuable resource for the IEDA, economic developers and policymakers around our state,” commented Debi Durham, director of the IEDA. “It truly is a data-driven look at where we are at, while at the same time, it gives a clear picture of what we could achieve with the right kind of resources focused on targeted priorities.”

The Battelle study was funded through support from private-sector entities at a cost of approximately $400,000.

Alliance & Chamber Supports Cedar Falls Facilities Plan Bond Proposal

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber supports the comprehensive facilities plan proposed by the Cedar Falls Community School District, and encourages patrons of the district to support this important program at the polls on Tuesday September 9.

Businesses and institutions of all types and sizes rely on modern infrastructure to encourage and accommodate economic growth and job creation. Perhaps as in no time in the past, the quality of educational content and experience delivered in advanced school facilities is critical to the continuing strength of our economy. Our Cedar Valley regional school facilities must lead in design, features and amenities to help our students become leaders in educational preparation and attainment.

This is true throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.  We have all seen tangible and intangible benefits from the building program financed by the Local Option Sales Tax over the last decade. Now, it is essential that our educational facilities at all levels prepare students for the emerging jobs and challenges of community citizenship of tomorrow.

We point out that this is precisely the kind of investment that must be made now to ensure that our students can take advantage of the opportunities of the future economy. Our businesses are particularly sensitive to increases in property taxes given the disproportionate burden placed directly on commercial and industrial property owners and indirectly on their tenants. For us to see the advantages to these investments in school facilities, we also recognize a huge return on these investments – a return that comes in the form of more successful teacher recruitment and retention, and student preparation and achievement.  We must see the plan helping to “fill the pipeline” with graduates well-prepared to assume highly productive roles in the future economy. We currently have a skills mismatch, and a shortage of talented people for new jobs that rely on “brainpower” and soft skills. Students with rounded educational experiences highlighted by hands-on experience, and achievement in sciences, technologies, mathematics, as well as the arts and the interpersonal skills are and will be needed. We must make these key investments to provide the best environments in which knowledge and skills are learned and attract the highest quality educators.

But schools facilities construction programs cannot be executed outside the parameters we expect of any public investment in infrastructure or service. Further, with many school districts and institutions within the Cedar Valley examining capital and facilities programs and financings, we must insist on consistency in evaluation of the proposals and value delivered to the taxpayers, as well as the students of our regional districts and institutions.

  • We believe that the plans must take into account the most modern design and service delivery models feasible.
  • The plans must be comprehensive and consider new partnerships with other educational institutions and districts, fulfilling its obligations to the patrons of the specific school district or constituency while maximizing collaboration, coordination and minimization of duplication among neighboring school districts and higher educational institutions in programs, human resources, curriculum, and services.
  • The plans must have been vetted by the patrons in a manner to elicit and consider the spectrum of views on feasibility, financing mechanisms, and impact on their community, in order to establish credibility for the amounts needed to implement modern, and indeed, futuristic facilities expansion, repurposing, and replacement programs.

The Cedar Falls proposal meets these criteria and the expectations of our economy.

  • The district has been very good stewards of the patrons’ funds, maintaining a very low tax rate as compared to similar sized districts
  • The district has not asked their patrons to approve a bond issue for facilities in nearly 40 years.
  • The plan replaces facilities for rational reasons: the new facilities replace obsolete designs that can no longer be modified and upgraded to meet modern standards; landlocked facilities are moved to larger sites where future needs can be anticipated and addressed; and facilities are located where population growth is occurring and anticipated in the district.
  • The plan was vetted by District leadership internally and with significant community involvement, review and comment.

We encourage businesses, parents and all patrons of the Cedar Falls Community School district to support the bond referendum on Tuesday September 9.

Adopted by the Board of Directors

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

 

 

Steve Tscherter

Chair

 

Steve Dust, CEcD

CEO

 

 

 

Hoover Middle School Students Showcase Leadership Knowledge and Skills to Business Professionals at CUNA Mutual

Hoover Middle School students will be showcasing their knowledge of the 7 Habits to CUNA Mutual employees at a 7 Habits Lunch & Learn, Thursday, June 5 in Waverly. The student led presentation will complete a seven part series of luncheons based on the leadership principles outlined in Steven Covey’s bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

In January 2014, a group of CUNA Mutual employees attended a 7 Habits workshop hosted by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. Impressed by the 7 Habits experience, those employees returned to the office to share their knowledge with other CUNA employees. The result was a series of lunch and learns based on the 7 Habits.

“We talk about a habit, then challenge participants to live the habit, and do a simple activity relating to that habit during the week.  We start the next week by discussing how last week went,” says

Mary Driscoll, Team Leader, Consumer Service Contact Center at CUNA Mutual Group.

The CUNA organizers inquired of Leader Valley Program Director, Melissa Reade, about having students from a Leader in Me school share their insights and expertise about the 7 Habits and Leader in Me in the final session of the series. Leader in Me is a K-12 initiative to infuse the 7 Habits into school culture in order to better equip students with soft skill for life long success. Leader in Me has been adopted in schools across the Cedar Valley.

 

“We are so pleased to have this unique opportunity for a few of our many talented students to share in a business setting what they have gained from being part of a leadership focused school. We know Hoover students are our future neighbors, friends, employees, leaders, and community members who will shape the Cedar Valley.  At Hoover, we strive to create a leadership culture that instills the necessary essential skills that prepare student for what life has to offer, both professionally and personally,” says Mike Fisher, Principal at Hoover Middle School, “We couldn’t be happier to be presenting and sharing with our CUNA friends.”

CUNA Mutual staff will have the opportunity to interact directly with students as they showcase their leadership displays. The students will then give a presentation on the 7 Habits and lead hands on activities for the CUNA Mutual staff, followed by Q&A and a luncheon.

About the Leader Valley and Leader in Me

The Leader Valley Talent Initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is an effort to make the Cedar Valley a better place for students to excel and become well prepared for citizenship and their future careers. This is achieved through high levels of community collaboration.  Through Leader Valley, strong partnerships among Cedar Valley businesses, school district administrators and school boards, parents, and the community are being built. Leader in Me is offered to Cedar Valley K-12 schools through Leader Valley, which incorporates leadership into all facets of the school culture.

Hoover Middle School is wrapping up their first year of Leader in Me implementation. The Hoover team has spent a year embedding leadership into all facets of their school culture- from curriculum and instruction to their environment, operational systems, and traditions.

Student leaders at Hoover have ample opportunities to learn about and apply the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, as well as use and refine their gifts and talents in authentic leadership opportunities ranging from classroom and school-wide leadership roles, leadership committees, clubs, and event planning.

Two highlights for Hoover this year include their Leader in Me Ribbon Cutting, a ceremony commemorating the shift to a leadership culture, as well as their Leadership Day, which allowed community leaders that chance to see Hoover student leaders in action.

CUNA Mutual has been a long-time champion of Leader Valley. In 2013, CUNA Mutual Foundation sponsored Leader in Me implementation at George Washington Carver Academy by providing a $75,000 gift over three years. The foundation plans to make similar gifts for implementing the Leader in Me in additional schools the near future.

For more information contact Program Director, Melissa Reade, at Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling (319)232-1156 or by email mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Young Professional Graduate from Cedar Valley Leadership Institute with Stronger Ties to the Community

Cedar Valley of Iowa (June 10, 2014) – The 2013/2014 Cedar Valley Leadership Institute (CVLI) of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber concluded it sessions with a graduation reception at Park Place Event Center on May 28th. Employers, family and Alliance & Chamber staff and board members were on hand to congratulate the 27 graduates.

Cary Darrah, Vice President Community Development of the Alliance & Chamber reflected on the highlights of the year by saying, “This is a dynamic class of emerging leaders for the Cedar Valley. Their leadership qualities go beyond their professional commitments and will be a huge asset to our community.”

“The CVLI program is designed to produce leaders for the advancement of the Cedar Valley. The graduates are making the Cedar Valley a better place to do business and build a career by engaging in volunteer community projects or organization opportunities, and by encouraging others through their experience,” noted Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber. “I would also like to thank the employers/sponsors of this year’s class for investing in the leadership development of their team, as well as the future of the Cedar Valley.”

“CVLI provided an avenue un-like any other that I have traveled down before,” says Patrick Smith a graduate of the institute and Vice President, Institutional Sales at First National Bank, Cedar Falls, “It was more than just an opportunity to network with other professionals; by the end of the class we all built relationships that will extend well beyond the last nine months in the CVLI program.  I personally look forward to working along-side these talented, highly-thought of leaders, as we all grow with the Cedar Valley.”

Members of the class included:

Joshua  Anderson            John Deere Engine Works

Bethany Benner                Next Generation Wireless/Jiva Salonspa

Randy   Bennett                  City of Cedar Falls

David     Betz                       John Deere

Sarah     Bey                        UNI Regional Business Center

Nate      Clapham              UNI Foundation

David     Hansen                 Advanced Systems

Dale       Hartz                     UNI Career Services

Drew     Hektoen                John Deere Waterloo Works

Tina        Hummel               MidWest One Bank

Lisa         Johnson               John Deere Waterloo Works

Amy       Kay                         City of Cedar Falls Engineering

Heidi      Kenkel                  John Deere Waterloo Works

Kaara     Latusick                VGM Group

Kelly      Mangrich             Veridian Credit Union

Kristina Mehmen             Invision Architecture

Joshua  Moon                    Dutton, Braun, Staack, & Hellman

Tara       Sagers                   PDCM Insurance

Adam    Schaefer              US Bank

Patrick  Smith                    First National Bank

Steve    Skram                   Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson

Nathan Vandegrift          John Deere Engine Works

Matt      Waller                   VGM Homelink

Cindy     Wiles                     Western Home Communities

Amy       Williams               Lincoln Savings Bank

Harley   Wilson                  CBE Companies, Inc.

Megan  Zuniga                   John Deere Waterloo Operations

Registration for the 2014/2015 CVLI will begin July 1.  Cost of the institute is $795.00 and is limited to Alliance & Chamber investor companies and organizations.

More information can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com  or by contacting Cary Darrah by calling (319)232-1156 or email cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

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Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees