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Manpower Receive 2016 Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Diversity & Inclusion Award

Cedar Valley Manpower team celebrate their accomplishments.

Cedar Valley Manpower team celebrate their accomplishments.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber presented their Annual Awards on Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Manpower creates customized programs to recruit and develop a workforce reflective of the Cedar Valley through effective partnerships with local agencies.

Access2Ability partnership with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) provides job opportunities for those with a disability.

Collaboration with Iowa Workforce Development is putting formerly incarcerated candidates to work.  Department of Correction facilities have placed reformed job seekers from the Work Release program into jobs.

Manpower staff serves on the Refugee Resource committee led by Catholic Charities. The goal is to help integrate refugees from Myanmar into the Cedar Valley.  The Manpower team developed job opportunities and overcame language barriers by creating work teams of 3-4 refugees, with one member serving as translator.

Manpower provides job preparation advice to students at Waterloo West High and college students through Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s Leadership Iowa University program.

Regional Director Kathy Joblinski is an active member of the Alliance & Chamber’s Chamber Council, its Diversity & Inclusion Partnership, and she is also a member of the Chamber Council’s Workforce Committee.

View the video produced by Pyke Studios here.

View a video of the entire event, including acceptance speeches, produced by Cedar Falls Cable is here.

 

 

2016 DIVERSITY & INCLUSION Award (50+ employees) – Waterloo Schools

 

Dr. Lindaman and Dr. Smith accept the Diversity & Inclusion award on behalf of the Waterloo Schools.

Dr. Lindaman and Dr. Smith accept the Diversity & Inclusion award on behalf of the Waterloo Schools.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber presented their Annual Awards on Thursday, March 31, 2016. Congratulations to the Waterloo Schools, recipient of the 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Award.

The Waterloo Community School District serves children and families bringing over 30 languages and 70+ dialects, plus a similarly diverse staff. District goals include enhanced efforts to reduce the achievement gap between demographic subgroups, provide cultural competency training, utilize research-based cultural competency strategies, maximize equitable community access to and use of our facilities, recruit and retain employees from diverse backgrounds, build partnerships within the community, and schools and homes of our students.

The WCSD Equity Committee, made up of school and community stakeholders, provides linkages to diverse area communities and organizations.  Collaboration partners include: Waterloo Human Rights Commission, NAACP – Education Committee, representatives from the Bosnian, Latino and Burma-origin Communities, and UNI Conference on African-American Children and Families.

The District is a lead partner in Cedar Valley CultureFest – a celebration showcasing the increasing diversity in the Cedar Valley through food, art, music and exhibits.

The Districts Community Relations Department regularly promotes diversity across the district by sharing stories through multiple media platforms with the general Cedar Valley area.

View the video produced by Pyke Studios here.

 

View a video of the entire event, including acceptance speeches, produced by Cedar Falls Cable is here.

 

Hydrite Chemical Company set to make $15.9 million capital investment in Waterloo

Hydrite Chemical Company 2013

Hydrite Chemical Company set to make $15.9 million capital investment in Waterloo. Hydrite Chemical’s proposed project would increase manufacturing capabilities in Waterloo by expanding its product lines in the food, agriculture and sulfur industries. The board awarded the company tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs Program (HQJP). The project is expected to create 11 jobs at a qualifying wage of $16.79 per hour. The proposed project includes land acquisition, site preparation, the construction of a 20,000 s.f. building, and installation of manufacturing machinery and equipment and will have a capital investment of $15.9 million.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber provided assistance to Hydrite. The Alliance & Chamber identified appropriate resources and tools available through the City of Waterloo and State of Iowa, and monitored the project throughout the process. State and local incentives were integral in Hydrite siting this project at their Waterloo location.

The Alliance & Chamber has provided assistance with previous Hydrite expansions. Since 2012, Hydrite has made more than $15 million in investment at the site.

Hydrite Chemical Company is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of chemical products in the United States.  The company provides expertise in chemical distribution, food and dairy sanitation, food ingredients, organic processing, liquid sulfur salts, water treatment, foam control, and compliance management. The company began its Waterloo operations in 1978 where they currently have 86 full-time employees.

 

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BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – The VGM Group

 

CEO Mike Mallaro accepts the Business of the Year Award.

CEO Mike Mallaro accepts the Business of the Year Award.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber presented their Annual Awards on Thursday, March 31, 2016. The VGM Group received the Business of the Year Award for companies with 51+ employees.  PDCM Insurance sponsors this award.

View the presentation video about the VGM Group, produced by Pyke Studios,  here.

With 25 years of success, The VGM Group includes more than 20 business units. The most recent $20m expansion adds 70,000 square feet of new offices to the San Marnan Ave. corporate campus and will be home to 300 employees.  The $2m renovation of the Alexandra Drive location accommodates growth of new tech based jobs.

VGM is a 100% owned by its 650+ employees through Employee Stock Ownership Plan “ESOP”, keeping wealth in the Cedar Valley and creating an employee focused culture and unique employment brand. VGM is one of Iowa’s 2015 Top Workplace in the Large Company category selected through an independent survey by Workplace Dynamics.

VGM’s annual Heartland Conference contributed an economic benefit of $1.1 million in the Cedar Valley in 2015 alone.

To help develop, strengthen, and retain talent in the company and the Cedar Valley, VGM participates in Iowa’s STEM Student Internship Program and has developed an internal professional development program for emerging leaders with in their company.

 

View a video of the entire event, including acceptance speeches, produced by Cedar Falls Cable is here.

 

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.

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Supports Hawkeye Community College Bond Referendum

A talented workforce, equipped with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in jobs today and in the future, is necessary for success in economic development. Because of the essential role that Hawkeye Community College plays in our economy, ensuring that our students prepare for 21st Century careers, the Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber has endorsed the Hawkeye Community College proposed bond issue to be voted on February 3.

Workforce Needs Are Changing – Hawkeye Delivers For Us

Our investment in modern facilities and career education programs at Hawkeye, funded through this bond referendum, is a sound one, and one that promises good returns for the entire area. Students of all ages, learning in-demand skills, with state of the art equipment and top-flight, experienced faculty delivers graduates who are in demand in the job market, earning higher wages, and creating more disposable income to support our local businesses. Given Hawkeye’s stellar reputation for delivering on the promise of well-educated students, who are from and stay in the Cedar Valley after graduation to work and live, we can predict with confidence that this $25 million investment will be returned to our economy many times over.

It’s impressive to note that Hawkeye serves more than 18,000 people each year throughout the entire Cedar Valley economic area.  A recent survey shows 94% of Hawkeye’s graduates stay in Iowa to work and raise their families. That’s important since a majority of quality job openings in our economy require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

There’s No Additional Cost

The Alliance & Chamber is always aware that capital projects and programs of public entities impact the tax burden of our businesses and homeowners. You should know that a ‘yes’ vote will not result in any tax rate changes. Since an existing levy is ending, approving this multi-phase program will be paid for with a levy equal to the existing one in place.  The price is about $1 per month for our average household to deliver the next generation of career preparation and training for our students.

 

Hawkeye’s Proposal Benefits The Cedar Valley

The revival of manufacturing is one of the brightest spots in the American economy, and the Cedar Valley is all about modern, advanced manufacturing. We need to train our young people in important skill areas, such as computer controlled machining and 3D printing/additive manufacturing, and other advanced methods in design, materials, production systems, and logistics – all supporting our broad manufacturing base. These are very good jobs.

Hawkeye’s plan to expand its participation in high school career academies is an important part of this bond referendum.  Career academies bridge high school students to community college career programs and introduce students to rewarding, high-paying career tracks.  For some students, access to these career programs keeps them in school. And these programs are effective conduits to continuing, higher education, and the life-long learning habit.

The word “crisis” is frequently used by healthcare providers planning for the future needs of our state. Job projections point to 3,000 new healthcare openings in Iowa over the next five years.  This bond referendum will give Hawkeye the ability to provide more advanced training in medical technologies and sciences.  Under this proposal, Hawkeye plans to build a health sciences technology center which will allow the College to expand its healthcare offerings and simulation technology.

State of the Art and Efficient

Additionally, the plan calls for Hawkeye Community College to close two older, outdated buildings and combines them into one flexible, state of the art facility. This provides notable energy savings and operational efficiencies.  And the new construction will put more Cedar Valley contractors to work on an important new structure serving our students.

Your Bottom Line Depends on This Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: passing the bond referendum for Hawkeye Community College provides our whole area important benefits in education, skills training, higher graduation rates, and job retraining, allowing more of our local residents to fill higher paying, advanced technology jobs across the spectrum of business and industry.  A yes vote does not mean a greater tax burden than is already paid, but it does mean that Hawkeye Community College can continue its efforts to make education affordable and effective. Please consider a yes vote for the Hawkeye bond referendum on February 3.

 

Steven J. Dust CEcD

CEO

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

 

 

 

 

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.

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Diversity & Inclusion Summit

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting the fourth annual Executive Diversity & Inclusion Summit, an educational event for professionals on Friday, September 26th.  The Executive Diversity & Inclusion Summit, sponsored by Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa, Inc. will be held at Allen College, 1990 Heath Street, Waterloo, from 8:00am to 1:30pm, with registration and breakfast beginning at 7:30am. The Summit provides attendees a concentrated and focused experience with multiple activities including a keynote speaker, a featured speaker, and authoritative workshops. Recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute are available to attendees.

Summit Topic: Identifying Unconscious Bias in the Work Place

The keynote speaker is Armers Moncure, whose areas of speaking, consulting and training focus and expertise include: Unconscious Bias, Cultural Competency and Employee Engagement. Most recently, Armers piloted new approaches to integrating best practices in Diversity and Inclusion and Employee Engagement. One of his signature and most popular workshops for increasing engagement is called Discovering WorkLife Passion and Purpose.

The focus of the keynote presentation will be Unconscious Bias in the Work Place. Attendees will gain an understanding of the dynamics of hidden or unconscious perceptions and how it can show up in daily activities and reinforce stereotypes. The presentation will also show how unconscious bias impacts talents management and inclusion within the workplace and offer ways to mitigate the impact of unconscious bias.

The featured speaker is  Deanna Kosaraju with her presentation How to Create and Sustain a High Performing Team Through Diversification. This presentation will look at how diversity in an organization can increase innovation and enhance productivity, resulting in higher sales and profits. Creating a plan for the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse employees, while eliminating unconscious bias and stereotype threat, will shift an organization from a stifling culture to one where ideas and innovation thrive.

Two breakout sessions will be presented by local experts; Effective Workplace Communication in a Pluralistic Society presented by Karris Golden and Diversity and the Impact on Your Organization presented by Quentin Hart.

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 2015 Annual Celebration, March 26, 2015 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 October 31, 2014.

The Summit’s premier sponsor is Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Iowa-Inc. It is also supported by gold sponsors Allen College Unity Point and Veridian Credit Union. CUNA Mutual Group is the silver sponsor. There is no cost to attend, but registration is requested no later than September 19th by going to the Events Calendar at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com. More information about the initiative and the awards can be found there.

The Diversity & Inclusion Initiative helps the business & institutions of the Cedar Valley region recognize and act on the business case for adopting and implementing inclusive practices in hiring, employee development, marketing and environment.

For more information about the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Diversity & Inclusion Partnership, Summit or awards call Cary Darrah at (319)232-1156 or email cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Go to the event page on our website by clicking here.

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Paint the Cedar Valley Purple | UNI Employer Event

UNI will be hosting a morning employer event on Tuesday, August 5th from 7:30 -8:30am, to educate employers on developing and running internship and part-time student programs.  The intent will be to educate employers on how to best utilize these types of training programs to obtain (and retain) talent in the region, and there will also be a student panel there to discuss what students are seeking from employers when it comes to training opportunities.  If you know of anyone who may benefit from this information or who may be looking to set up a student employee/training program, please pass the word along!

And this event, while hosted by UNI, will be run in coordination with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

Need a creative way to find the right talent for your organization?  Connect with UNI Career Services (in partnership with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber) at a Breakfast Training Session that will cover:

  • How to locate, hire, and keep students for part-time positions, internships and full-time positions
  • Learn how to create a basic internship program
  • Listen to a student panel on what this current group of UNI students seek from employers

Hire Smart. Hire UNI. 
7:30 – 8:30 am, Tuesday, August 5
Cedar Falls Visitors Center – Continental Breakfast Included
Register Now (limited space)

Employment Opportunities: Communications Assistant and Administrative Assistant with Alliance & Chamber

COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks candidates to become our full-time Communications Assistant. The main responsibility is to fulfill the graphic design and marketing needs for events, social media and website content support including analytics, and assisting with overall graphic design needs of organization and special projects.

Marketing, Communications or Graphic Design degree preferred, or experience equivalent. Must be proficient in Adobe products (InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator), website content management systems, and Microsoft Office. Candidate must be comfortable working in various forms of media including television, radio, print, social media, e-media, etc. The successful candidate will have excellent oral and writing communication skills, including copywriting and proofreading. Additional experience that will be beneficial includes photography, html coding and video production. This position will entail a heavy emphasis on graphic design, so a portfolio of previous work will be requested at the interview

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT / RECEPTIONIST

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks a positive and organized candidate to become our full-time Administrative Assistant/Receptionist. The main responsibility is to provide administrative support to the office, answer multi-line phone and greet guests.  Also assist with office management, membership functions, and meeting/event invitations and preparation.

Requirements include at least 2 years of related work experience and proficient computer skills, including Microsoft Office, Outlook, mail merge and database management. Minimum typing speed of 50wpm. Additional research skills a plus. Must have proven organizational and time management skills. NCRC certification preferred.

Competitive wage and benefit package available. Please send cover letter, resume, and professional references to: SSommerfelt@cedarvalleyalliance.com. Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, 10 West Fourth Street, Suite 310, Waterloo, IA 50701. EOE

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, not-for-profit corporation whose investors include businesses, institutions, local governments and professionals dedicated to continuously improving the economic environment and quality of life in the Cedar Valley.  The Alliance & Chamber works to increase wealth and economic vitality through collaborative economic and community development throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.

 

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