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Tag Archives: employment

5 ON FRIDAY: FUEL FOR THOUGHT, NOVEMBER 24, 2017

by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

 

Remember: 5 on Friday is a two-way street: please send me recommendations on books, reports, articles, blogs, videos, or anything you’re reading or watching that impacts business and the economy.

 

ONE: Standard Distribution Announces Next Project

I can never say “thank you” often enough to the risk-taking capitalists in the Cedar Valley who see a need and fill it with a product or service. This week, I pass along the announcement of another new industrial sector investment by Standard Distribution. Thank you.

Standard Distribution planning large expansion at airport, Tim Jamison, The Courier, November 18, 2017

TWO: The Geopolitics of Thanksgiving

You thought it was about making it through a very bad year and Europeans building alliances with the indigenous people of North America. You were kind of right. This is a lengthy, but fascinating look at the global context in which that first Thanksgiving took place. It’s an eye-opening history lesson, courtesy of Stratfor.

Thanksgiving and Puritan Geopolitics in the Americas, Starfor, November 24, 2017

THREE: Classroom Tech Advances

Here’s a great look at how technology startups are impacting education. So, if the Cedar Valley has the University of Northern Iowa — the highly ranked institution that teaches to be teachers — how do we capture economic development value from this trend?

A Silicon Valley startup is quietly taking over U.S. classrooms, Kia Kokalitcheva , Axios, November 22, 2017

FOUR: Your 2018 Reading List?

If you’re looking for books to read during holiday travel or just to stock up for 2018, here’s what the Gates-Bezos-Buffets of the world are reading.

9 Recommended Books That Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett Think You Should Read, Marcel Schwantes

FIVE: Another Good News Source

Here’s another media source that I’ve included in my bundle, and I thought I’d refer it to you.

Axios

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought, November 17, 2017

by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

 

Remember: 5 on Friday is a two-way street: please send me recommendations on books, reports, articles, blogs, videos, or anything you’re reading or watching that impacts business and the economy.

ONE: Logistics Disruptors

Logistics is a big business in the Cedar Valley. Companies move materials in and products out to fulfill the needs of businesses and consumers — all over the globe. Just last night, Tesla unveiled an electric/battery-powered semi-transport. The PDF attached is a good, high-level research summary on the disruptors in the logistics space. These are things the Cedar Valley must pay attention to, from the perspective of current and future economic activity, and tax base for local government.

[PDF] THE TOP 5 DISRUPTIVE Trends Shaping Transportation and Logistics.September 2017, The Business Insider Research Team, September 2017

TWO: Will Iowa Grads Stay?

Here’s an overview of how Iowa is doing when it comes to keeping our grads at home. Use the Data Tool provided on this page to dig deeper into your industry.

Iowa College Student Retention, Iowa Workforce Development, 2017 Report

THREE: Economic Inclusion

This an excellent and well-documented, but lengthy, report from Brookings on how economic inclusion across sectors benefits the firm and the worker, as well as the overall regional economy.

A key point early in the report: One reason for this is that faster metro-level growth creates the tight labor markets that make broad-based wage gains more likely. One study found that a 10 percent increase in metropolitan employment raises average real earnings per person by around 4 percent. These gains are greater in percentage terms for African-Americans, lower-income individuals, and workers with less education.

Opportunity for growth: How reducing barriers to economic inclusion can benefit workers, firms, and local economies, Joseph Parilla, Brookings Institution, Thursday, September 28, 2017

FOUR: State of New Economy Index

Although this particular ranking only puts Iowa in the middle of the pack of states, you should be pleased with the progress made at the state level to accommodate the New Economy. This progress isn’t necessarily picked up in the Index.

The Index measures new economy activity, regardless of the particular focus of a regional or state economy. However, a defining trend of this era is the degree to which all have become more reliant on innovation as new technologies have become critical drivers of productivity and competitiveness.

The publisher of the Index, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), is one of the most credible and knowledgeable voices in tech and innovation policy and practice.

The Index measures the degree to which state economies are knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, IT-driven, and innovation-based. The report then discusses overarching strategic issues facing states, examines the role of large and small businesses in driving growth, and finally discusses a number of innovative models around the nation to spur workforce training and technology commercialization.

This message aligns very nicely with the second of three goals for our Greater Cedar Valley 2021 economic development initiative: Target Technology for Growth, recognizing that it’s the best allocation of our scarce talent resource, moving us farther, faster in creating wealth and economic vitality in the Cedar Valley.

The 2017 State New Economy Index: Benchmarking Economic Transformation in the States, Robert D. Atkinson and J. John Wu, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, November 2017

FIVE: Irvine CA’s proposal to Amazon

I’ve become more curious about Irvine, California because our youngest son, Andrew, and his spouse, Emily, moved there this week. (She’s a data scientist with a United Healthcare-related firm.) Irvine has been known as the safest city in the nation since the early 1990’s.

Irvine is the home and playpen for billionaire Donald Bren, the wealthiest real estate developer in the nation. Starting as Irvine Ranch, then becoming The Irvine Company, it owns about 20 percent of Orange County. Recently, Bren proposed to Jeff Bezos that Irvine become the location of the new, second Amazon headquarters. Bren offers to bankroll the entire $5 billion project, building initial building space available immediately then constructing new space as necessary. The expected 50,000 employees would fit well in this city that is near, but not adjacent to, Los Angeles, where the mean income level is already above that anticipated for Amazon’s new employees (over $100,000).

The richest real estate developer in the US wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offering to pay for the insanely sought-after HQ2, by Tanza Loudenback. Business Insider, Oct. 19, 2017

Live it Up! Nick Kostner of Kryton Manufactured Metals, Inc.

How does Nick Kostner #livethevalley?

photo of Nick and Megan Kostner wedding

Nick Kostner, Megan Vogt-Kostner

What Nick Kostner does as Supply Chain Manager for state-of-the-art manufacturer KRYTON Engineered Metals in Cedar Falls can change from one hour to the next. You might find Nick working at his desk, on the shop floor, or in a customer location. He loves being empowered to try new things. “I’ve been given a lot of freedom in my day-to-day job to research and create new strategies, procedures, and processes to improve operations throughout the entire company.” Nick helped create the role that he began during an internship that almost didn’t happen: about a year earlier he was unenrolled from the University of Northern Iowa due to poor academic achievement. Ouch. He presented a detailed plan, was granted readmission, and got his act together. In 2016, he graduated from UNI with a Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management. Newlyweds Nick and wife Megan live in Waverly: small enough to see people they know everywhere but with the conveniences of a larger metro. #liveitup

Diversity & Inclusion Partnership Offers Seventh Annual Summit for Business Professionals

CEDAR VALLEY OF IOWA  — Business owners, managers, and human resource professionals from organizations of all sizes are invited to attend the 2017 Economic Inclusion Summit. Previously called the Diversity & Inclusion Summit, the event is designed to strengthen the Cedar Valley economic region by providing tools and information for businesses to implement effective inclusive practices.

The Summit will be held on October 20 in Tama Hall at Hawkeye Community College, 1501 E. Orange Road, Waterloo, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Continental breakfast and networking are set for 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. The program begins at 8:45 a.m.

This is the seventh year the Diversity & Inclusion Partnership of the Alliance & Chamber is presenting the educational event, previously called the Diversity & Inclusion Summit.

Agenda

Attendees are provided a concentrated and focused experience with multiple presentations. This year’s keynote presentation is an interactive theater experience that addresses workforce and cultural difference in the workplace.

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Networking

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Welcome

Steve Dust, President/CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Dr. Linda Allen, President, Hawkeye Community College

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Presentations

Cedar Valley Data and Demographics, Danny Laudick, Program Consultant, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Non-Traditional Methods for Finding and Keeping Talent in the Cedar Valley,  Kyle Roed, Sr. Human Resource Manager, Omega Cabinetry/MasterBrand Cabinets

Question and Answer following both presentations

9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Break

10:00 a.m. -11:45 a.m. Breaking Ice Presentation 

Introduction of Breaking Ice – Sharina Sallis, Community Relations Specialist, CUNA Mutual Group

Breaking Ice Pillsbury House Theatre Performance

Question and Answer

11:45 a.m. – Noon Introducing: Inclusion Toolkit Online Resource
Jean Trainor, Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Partnership

2018 Awards Nominations

During the Summit, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber will announce the call for nominations and application process for the Diversity & Inclusion Awards to be presented at the 2018 Annual Celebration, March 27, 2018 at the Waterloo Convention Center, Waterloo. These awards recognize for outstanding contribution by a business or organization for leadership in creating and strengthening an environment of diversity and inclusion in the workplace culture, business practices and in the community.

To Register

There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited; register online at cedarvalleyalliance.com. Continuing education credits for human resources professionals are available for Summit attendees.

Veridian Credit Union and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa are the Premier Sponsors for The Summit. Hawkeye Community College is the Location Sponsor. Cedar Valley Society of Human Resource Managers (CVSHRM) is providing the continental breakfast.

Other sponsors include Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association, Courier Communications, Hy-Vee Food Stores, KWWL, Omega Cabinetry/MasterBrand Cabinets, and the University of Northern Iowa.

About the Diversity & Inclusion Partnership

The Diversity & Inclusion Partnership is a workforce initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The purpose of the Partnership is to strengthen the Cedar Valley economy by collaborating with businesses to promote inclusion and make sure all residents have the opportunity to benefit from a thriving Cedar Valley economy. The Partnership is led by a taskforce of volunteers dedicated to promoting the business case and positive impact of diversity and inclusive practices in the Cedar Valley workforce. More information can be found at cedarvalleyalliance.com, by contacting Lisa Rivera Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development at lskubal@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber at 319-232-1156.

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought

One: Yes, the Cedar Valley Was Considered for Apple’s New Data Center

So, I was walking through the office early Thursday afternoon, and Director of Communications Dorothy de Souza Guedes asks, “What’s your big item to accomplish the rest of the day?” “Getting over the depression of hearing the Governor and Tim Cook announce the Apple data center in [deleted] Des Moines,” was my immediate response.

The Cedar Valley was a strong competitor when this was a 300- to 500-acre project. When Apple discovered it could have a 2,000-acre site with similar features, the competition was, practically speaking, over.

The Apple project has spurred Vice President of Economic Development Lisa Skubal and our Economic Development team to work with our regional partners to discover and work to control two mega-sized sites — one with rail and one without. Why two? The data center mega site has much different requirements than, say, a Toyota plant.

These mega sites are not anomalies. Requests are returning to the market after a fairly long absence of demand with a few exceptions – mostly auto assembly plants throughout the United States and Mexico.

The link is to the article discussing the project and the embedded video reviews the incentive package offered.

Apple’s billion-dollar data center ‘puts Iowa on world stage’

Two: VGM Group Took My Blues Away

At the end of the day Thursday, August 24, my blues were chased away by an Alliance & Chamber’s ribbon cutting.

An open house and ribbon cutting celebrated the newest expansion of the VGM Group’s campus at Ansborough and US 20.  Wow! Thank you, Jim Walsh, Mike Mallaro, and team for delivering such a stunning new office building to the Cedar Valley market.

Designed to give new amenities to the growing VGM team that now numbers 760 in the Cedar Valley, the building is a $20 million investment that brought the complex to over 190,000 square feet.

Celebrating the opening of this amazing office with a ribbon cutting ceremony, I laughed through Jim Walsh’s “welcome and thank you” remarks. Talking with the VGM team and their VIP guests — many Alliance & Chamber investors — reminded me how grateful we should be for the loyal, growing, investing, employers we have in the Cedar Valley. Thank you, again, VGM.

VGM shows off latest addition at Waterloo complex

Three: Editorial on Job Skills to Fill the Gap

If you are an employer, you know the employability and job-specific skills gap is real.  If you’re not a hiring manager or owner, believe us, the issue is real.

It’s troubling when research expresses that vocational training is too specific and stymies older workers from progressing in or to a new career ladder. There are times when we must say “get over it.”

We cannot afford to have a valuable contributor leave the workforce just because they prefer not to be retrained. The incentives that permit that preference need to lead back into lifelong learning and retraining. That’s particularly painful for boomers who love what they’ve done for 30 years. We as a society can’t let these valuable workers slip out of the workforce: the incentive must be to keep learning and keep working through the reasonable career span.

And I almost refuse to give credence to the idea presented in the article below about young men with less than a bachelor’s degree working fewer hours each year because of video games. I know the data is real, but good grief.

This is an editorial of The Courier, which is absolutely on point with the issues of job skills to fill the gap. Thank you, Roy, Nancy, and The Courier team for a very good piece on a critical issue.

Learning job skills is no game

Four: Critical Few Behaviors and Organizational Culture

We’re all looking for ways to make our workplace a place where people are productive for the firm and our clients. There are a lot of people writing and saying stuff about culture. Strategy+Business is a good business journal and accompanying blog with solid content on a broad range of topics.

This short article helps employers and leaders identify keystone behaviors that will contribute to achieving our strategic and operational objectives. It is worth the time to read to get a start prioritizing culture-building activities in terms of implementation and impact.

Getting to the Critical Few Behaviors That Can Drive Cultural Change

Five: The Robot Apocalypse

Investment Advisor Kevin Wilson makes the case I have advanced since 1981: automation is an improvement in our careers and businesses, not a revolutionary challenge to our intellect. Yes, of course, we can conjure a Jetson’s and HAL-lific artificial intelligence tragedy. But let’s back up to where we are in advancing technology, how we’re using it, and how it can leverage our scarce American human capital. Instead, think about how we quickly ramp up from here. That’s what this lengthy, chart-rich SeekingAlpha.com article does.

Much Ado about Nothing: The Robot Apocalypse Is Actually an Economic Renaissance In Disguise

What are you reading that would help me do my job for you? Email me at SDust@CedarValleyAlliance.com.

Hawkeye to Host Advanced Manufacturing Information Session on December 5

CEDAR FALLS–Hawkeye Community College will host an information session on short-term training in CNC Machining, Industrial Maintenance, and Welding on Monday, December 5, at 11:30 a.m., at the Cedar Falls Center, 5330 Nordic Drive, Cedar Falls. The session will include information about upcoming training opportunities, a tour of training areas, and the opportunity to visit with instructors.

The next CNC Machining training runs February 2-June 8, 2017, and meets Mondays and Thursdays from 5:00-10:00 p.m. CNC operators work in a variety of manufacturing environments and are trained to program, set up, and operate a CNC machine, inspect parts, perform production runs, and set up jobs. CNC machine operators are in high demand in the Cedar Valley. In four months, individuals completing the non-credit certificate may earn $28,000-$37,000 per year, not including overtime.

The next Production Welding training runs February 6-April 11, 2017, and meets Monday-Thursday, 5:00-9:00 p.m. The next Construction Welding training runs January 17-February 20, 2017, and meets Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Welding continues to be the principle means of fabricating and repairing metal products. Iowa Workforce Development forecasts more than 270 job openings each year for welders through 2022. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are some of the top occupations in Iowa with the most job openings. Starting wages average $28,500-$36,000 per year and many in this field work overtime.

Industrial Maintenance runs January 18-August 2, 2017, with classes held Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The Industrial Maintenance program prepares students for high demand entry-level employment. Industrial maintenance workers maintain, monitor, troubleshoot, and repair equipment used in the production of goods. Individuals completing the non-credit certificate may earn $31,500-$43,000 per year, not including overtime.

For more information, call 319-296-4290 or visit www.hawkeyecollege.edu/go/advanced-manufacturing.

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Diversity & Inclusion Partnership Presents 6th Annual Summit for Business Professionals

The Diversity & Inclusion Partnership of the Alliance & Chamber is presenting the 2016 Executive Diversity & Inclusion Summit. This is the 6th year for this educational event for owners and managers of businesses and organizations of all sizes. The Summit will be held on October 14, in Winter Hall Atrium and McKinstry Student Center at Allen College, 1990 Heath St, Waterloo, from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm, with registration beginning at 7:30 am.

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa is the premier sponsor for the event.

The Executive Diversity & Inclusion Summit is designed to strengthen the Cedar Valley Economic region by providing tools and information to implement effective inclusive practices. The Summit provides attendees a concentrated and focused experience with multiple activities including a keynote speaker and a dramatic presentation. Additionally, two workshops are offered: Generations in the Workplace, and Employing Immigrants – What Every HR Professional Should Know. Lunch, provided by Cedar Valley Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), will be served during the workshops.

Attendees include CEOs, Human Resource directors and upper management of businesses and organizations of all sizes.

Two keynote presentations will be given during the morning session. Diversity & Inclusion Strategist James Wright will present Moving the Race Conversation Forward.  Wright will explore the changing face of America and how this will affect our workforce and political climate; how to interpret US Census data and proactively begin discussing racial differences openly, honestly and respectfully; and will provide keys to introducing inclusive concepts that are useable by all leaders, managers and employees.

Theater instructor and director Andy Paris of the Tectonic Theater Project will introduce the company’s latest project, Uncommon Sense: An Exploration of Autism using Theatrical Form.  The project is rooted in Iowa stories about Iowa families and communities affected by life on the Autism spectrum.  This three-year collaboration began with interviews of Iowans. Their stories have been woven into a theatrical play. The play will premier January 21 and 22, 2017 at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa Campus in Cedar Falls.

Andrew Duff is a theater major and recent college graduate and has been working with Tectonic Theater on the project.  Andrew, will share his employment experiences as an individual on the Autism spectrum.

Also during the Summit, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber will announce the call for nominations and application processes for the Diversity & Inclusion Awards to be presented at the 2017 Annual Celebration, March 30, 2017 at the Park Place Event Center, Cedar Falls.

These awards will be given for outstanding contribution by a business or organization for leadership in creating and strengthening an environment of diversity and inclusion in the workplace culture, business practices and in the community.  Deadline for nominations is November 15, 2016.  A nomination form can filled out online at cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Continuing education credits for human resources professionals are available for Summit attendees. There is no cost to attend, but registration is requested no later than September 30.  Workshops details, event agenda, speaker bios and registration can be found at cedarvalleyalliance.com, by contacting Danny Laudick, Director of Talent Solutions at dlaudick@cedarvalleyallaince.com, or by calling 319-232-1156.

REGISTER HERE

The Diversity & Inclusion Partnership is a workforce initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  The purpose of the Partnership is to strengthen the Cedar Valley economy by collaborating with businesses to promote inclusion and to make sure all residents have the opportunity to benefit from a thriving Cedar Valley economy. The Partnership is led by a taskforce of volunteers dedicated to promoting the business case and positive impact of diversity and inclusive practices in the Cedar Valley workforce.  More information can be found at cedarvalleyalliance.com, by contacting Danny Laudick, Director of Talent Solutions at dlaudick@cedarvalleyallaince.com, or by calling 319-232-1156.

 

GREATER CEDAR VALLEY ALLIANCE & CHAMBER TO HOLD FORUM ON WORKFORCE ISSUES

The Alliance & Chamber will host a forum to engage area business and institutions to address talent and workforce challenges in the Cedar Valley.  Addressing Workforce: Beyond the Numbers is for employers, educators, service organizations and other workforce partners to be held Thursday, September 29th from 7:30 -11:30am at the National Cattle Congress Pavilion, Waterloo.

Recent data compiled by the Alliance & Chamber projects that businesses in the Cedar Valley will need 12,000 additional workers in the next 10 years while, at the same time, the working-age population is expected to decrease.

During the forum, business leaders from a cross-section of industries will facilitate three separate discussion tracks. Human resource professionals, business managers from all industries, education leaders, and service providers who support business with workforce needs are encouraged to participate in the most relevant discussion track.

The three tracks include:

  1. Labor Force Participation (utilizing our existing population)
  2. Training & Education (training the future workforce)
  3. Talent Attraction & Retention (attracting new & retaining existing workforce)

The interactive format will provide opportunities for new connections, partnerships, peer-to-peer learning and a deeper understanding of how to collaborate in addressing our workforce needs for today and the future.

A light breakfast will be served at 7:30am.  The event is free. Registration is requested through the Alliance & Chamber website www.cedarvalleyalliance.com by September 16.

For more information on this event and the Talent Solutions initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber contact Danny Laudick by calling 319-232-1156 or by email to dlaudick@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

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GREATER CEDAR VALLEY ALLIANCE & CHAMBER TO HOLD FORUM ON WORKFORCE ISSUES

The Alliance & Chamber will host a forum to engage area business and institutions to address talent and workforce challenges in the Cedar Valley.  Addressing Workforce: Beyond the Numbers is for employers, educators, and workforce partners to be held Thursday, September 29th from 7:30 -11:30am at the National Cattle Congress Pavilion, Waterloo.

Recent data compiled by the Alliance & Chamber projects that businesses in the Cedar Valley will need 12,000 additional workers in the next 10 years while, at the same time, the working-age population is expected to decrease.

During the forum, business leaders from a cross-section of industries will facilitate three separate discussion tracks. Human resource professionals, business managers from all industries, education leaders, and service providers who support business with workforce needs are encouraged to participate in the most relevant discussion track.

The three tracks include:

  1. Labor Force Participation (utilizing our existing population)
  2. Training & Education (training the future workforce)
  3. Talent Attraction & Retention (attracting new & retaining existing workforce)

The interactive format will provide opportunities for new connections, partnerships, peer-to-peer learning and a deeper understanding of how to collaborate in addressing our workforce needs for today and the future.

A light breakfast will be served at 7:30am.  The event is free. Registration is requested through the Alliance & Chamber website www.cedarvalleyalliance.com by September 16.

For more information on this event and the Talent Solutions initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber contact Danny Laudick by calling 319-232-1156 or by email to dlaudick@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

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Cedar Valley Grows as Logistics Hub with Addition of Furniture Mart USA

Located in the upper Midwest United States, the Cedar Valley of Iowa is strategically positioned and globally connected through multimodal infrastructure for companies with logistics needs.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is proud to have supported the City of Cedar Falls in securing Furniture Mart USA of Sioux Falls, S.D., to build a 150,000-square-foot, $6 million warehouse on 18 acres of land west of the Target Distribution Center perishable foods warehouse at the corner of Venture Way and Production Drive in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park. A retail project is also anticipated. The two projects will employ an estimated 60 people.

The Alliance & Chamber supplied labor and workforce and other information requested by the company.

Read more in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

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