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Tag Archives: Hawkeye Community College

GREATER CEDAR VALLEY ALLIANCE & CHAMBER NOW ACCCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR ANNUAL AWARDS

 The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber announces nominations will be accepted now through  January 8, 2016 for  business awards to be presented during the 2016 Annual Celebration on Thursday, March 31st at the Park Place Event Centre.

Do you know of an individual who should be recognized for their contributions in creating a strong business climate and enhancing the quality of life in the Cedar Valley by continued service and leadership?  Has an Alliance & Chamber business or organization made an outstanding contribution to the Cedar Valley and its citizens on a continued basis or with a specific project?  You are encouraged to nominate Alliance & Chamber investors for recognition of their contributions.

“The strength of the Cedar Valley is a result of visionary, innovative leadership – individuals, businesses and organizations who are investing capital, creating jobs and making things happen in the workplace and the community. It’s important to tell their stories and recognize them for their contributions,” says Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust.

Nominations are being accepted through January 8th for the following awards:

  • Business of the Year Award -(Small companies 1-50 FTE’s,
    Large companies 51+ FTE’s)
  • Harold Brock Innovation Award
  • John Deere Treating Capital Well Award
  • Fulfilling the Vision of One Award
  • Cedar Valley Partner Award

*Full-time Employees (FTE)

Winners from the 2015 event include:

      • Business of the Year (Small companies 1-50 FTE’s) – Far Reach Technologies
      • Business of the Year (Large companies 51 + FTE’s) – United Equipment Accessories, Inc.
      • Harold Brock Innovation Award: OMJC Signal
      • John Deere Treating Capital Well Award:         Farmers State Bank
      • Fulfilling the Vision of One Award – Tom Penaluna
      • Cedar Valley Partner Award: Boy & Girls Club and Hawkeye Community College
      • Legacy Award – Ed Gallagher
      • Inclusion Awards (Small companies 1-50 FTE’s) – Cadillac Lane
      • Inclusion Awards (Large companies 51 +         FTE’s) – Hawkeye Community College

Nominations for Inclusions Awards has passed.

Descriptions of the awards and nomination forms are available at the Alliance & Chamber offices or online at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/programsandevents . For additional information, please contact Bette Wubbena at bwubbena@cedarvalleyalliance.com or 319-232-1156.

 

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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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Hawkeye Community College to Host Advanced Manufacturing Information Session

Hawkeye Community College will host an information session on advanced manufacturing on Wednesday, August 26, at 5:00 p.m., at the Cedar Falls Center, 5330 Nordic Drive, Cedar Falls. The session will include information about short-term training opportunities in CNC machining, industrial maintenance, and welding; a tour of the training areas; and the opportunity to visit with instructors.

The next Industrial Maintenance training runs October 20, 2015-June 23, 2016 and meets Monday-Thursday, 4:00-10:00 p.m. Industrial maintenance workers maintain, monitor, troubleshoot, and repair equipment used in the production of goods. This program prepares students for entry-level employment, where individuals may earn $27,000-$35,000 per year. Industrial maintenance personnel frequently work overtime. Starting wages do not include overtime compensation.

The next CNC Machining training runs September 21, 2015-February 8, 2016, 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 $27,500-$34,000 per year, not including overtime.

The next Production Welding training runs October 26-December 9, 2015, and meets Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-2:30 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 $26,500-$35,000 per year and many in this field work overtime.

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

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Alliance & Chamber CEO Dust to Speak at Dislocated Worker Transition Center Opening

WATERLOO–A new center to assist displaced John Deere workers will open Tuesday, August 18, with a grand opening ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on the Hawkeye Community College Main Campus.

WHAT: Dislocated Worker Transition Center Grand Opening

WHEN: Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Advanced Technology and Business Center, Buchanan Hall

Hawkeye Community College, 1501 East Orange Rd, Waterloo

Iowa Workforce Development received a National Dislocated Worker Grant for $3,058,322 from the U.S. Department of Labor to help displaced workers with job training and employment. More than 1,300 John Deere workers from Waterloo and Ankeny have been laid off since fall 2014, including more than 1,000 from Waterloo. The $3,058,322 grant will assist up to 650 workers with career services. The Dislocated Worker Transition Center will house staff representing IowaWORKS Cedar Valley, Iowa Workforce Development, and UAW Local 838, who can assist dislocated workers with career coaching and pursuing job retraining.

Speakers at the grand opening will include Dr. Linda Allen, president of Hawkeye Community College; Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, Mike Oberhauser, vice president of UAW Local 838, Steve Dust, president and CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber; and other representatives

Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub at TechWorks of First Projects to Receive Iowa’s New Strategic Infrastructure Funding – $2.7 Million for additional 3D Printers UNI Metal Casting Center

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub (IAMNH), at the TechWorks Campus in Waterloo, is one of the first projects in the state to be awarded funds through Iowa’s new Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF). The funding was approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board at their June meeting. The project, Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub – Phase I, Additive Manufacturing Center, will receive $2.7 million to fund additional 3D printers for the UNI Metal Casting Center, building improvements, and a design center to be operated by Hawkeye Community College.

“With this financial support from the IEDA and Iowa Innovation Council, UNI is excited and anxious to move forward with creating a full-service additive manufacturing center to meet the innovation and technology needs of Iowa companies,” says Randy Pilkington, Executive Director of UNI’s Business and Community Services. “Thanks to support from IEDA, UNI is building on the momentum of the past 18 months of 3D printing success to create a full-service additive manufacturing center for Iowa manufacturers. Expansion into plastics, metals and ceramics will create one of the best equipped 3D printing facilities in North America.”

The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub application for Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF) was completed by TechWorks staff and a team including UNI’s Randy Pilkington and Metal Casting Center Director Jerry Thiel; Hawkeye Community College President Linda Allen, and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jane Bradley; and TechWorks board chair Tim Hurley. The team worked with the State of Iowa and the Iowa Innovation Council’s Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup to finalize the application.

The IEDA funding will help to move Iowa to the forefront of technology in additive manufacturing and establish a premier center for support of its manufacturing base.  This funding is a critical step in advancing the state’s technology base and providing a central location for technology advancement.

Hawkeye Community College to host Advanced Manufacturing Information Session March 16

Hawkeye Community College will hold an information session on upcoming classes in Advanced Manufacturing on Monday, March 16, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Cedar Falls Center, 5330 Nordic Drive, Cedar Falls. The session will include information about the CNC Machining and Industrial Maintenance programs, a tour of the training areas, and the opportunity to visit with instructors.

Industrial maintenance workers maintain, monitor, troubleshoot, and repair equipment used in the production of goods. The Industrial Maintenance program prepares students for entry-level employment in this field. Individuals may earn $27,000-$35,000 per year. Industrial electrical maintenance personnel work overtime frequently. Starting wages do not include overtime compensation.

Industrial Maintenance classes begin April 22, 2015, and run through October 15, 2015. Classes are held Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Cedar Falls Center. Students will earn a non-credit certificate of completion.

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. The CNC Machining program prepares students for an entry-level position. CNC machine operators are in high demand in the Cedar Valley. In four months individuals completing the non-credit certificate may earn $24,000-$33,500 per year, not including overtime.

CNC Machining classes begin April 20, 2015, and run through August 24, 2015. Classes are held Monday and Thursday, 5:00-10:00 p.m., at the Cedar Falls Center. Students will earn a non-credit certificate of completion.

Manufacturers are hiring in the Cedar Valley and need skilled workers to fill high-demand positions. Individuals will be able to sign-up for classes at the information session, as well as learn more about potential financial assistance for qualifying individuals. For more information about either program, call 319-296-4290 or visit www.hawkeyecollege.edu/business-and-community.

Jim McKernan Vice President and General Manager KWWL Television Inc. in Support of Hawkeye Community College

HI, I’M KWWL GENERAL MANAGER JIM McKERNAN.

TOMORROW, VOTERS IN TEN COUNTIES WILL VOTE ON A 25 MILLION DOLLAR BOND ISSUE TO UPGRADE SERVICES AND FACILITIES AT HAWKEYE COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

HAWKEYE NEEDS THESE UPGRADES TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE IN OUR GLOBAL ECONOMY, PREPARING IOWANS FOR THE WORKFORCE OF THE 21ST CENTURY.

UNDER STATE LAW, GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS ARE THE PRIMARY FUNDING MECHANISM FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES.

HAWKEYE SERVES MORE THAN 18-THOUSAND PEOPLE ANNUALLY, HAS 50 CAREER PROGRAMS AND HAS BEEN NAMED A “MILITARY FRIENDLY SCHOOL” SIX YEARS RUNNING.

THE COLLEGE IS A RESPECTED COMMUNITY PARTNER – IT HELPS ITS GRADUATES OBTAIN JOBS IN THEIR FIELD OF STUDY.. AND MOST IMPORTANT – 94% OF HAWKEYE GRADUATES STAY IN IOWA.

WE BELIEVE HAWKEYE COMMUNITY COLLEGE TO BE A VITAL ASSET TO OUR REGION.

AN EXISTING LEVY IS ENDING AND THIS MEASURE DOESN’T INCREASE THE OVERALL TAX RATE OF THE COLLEGE.

SO I HOPE VOTERS IN BLACK HAWK, BENTON, BREMER, BUCHANAN, BUTLER, CHICKASAW, FAYETTE, FLOYD, GRUNDY AND TAMA COUNTIES GIVE IT THEIR FULL CONSIDERATION.  VOTE YES.

 

Jim McKernan

Vice President and General Manager

KWWL Television Inc.

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

 

 

 

 

Multi-Million Dollar Federal Grant to Support Iowa’s Community Colleges and Job Training Efforts

WATERLOO—An innovative plan developed by Iowa’s community colleges to train thousands of workers in high-demand fields is being recognized today with a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

A consortium, consisting of all 15 community colleges in Iowa jointly applied for funding to build training capacity in the areas of Information Technology, Healthcare, Utilities, and Manufacturing – also known as the “IHUM” Network.  Grant funds will be used statewide to create more than 45 additional training certificates in the IHUM targeted areas.

“The 15 members of the Iowa community college consortium are honored to be named as recipients for this federal grant.  This truly was a collaborative effort and we would like to acknowledge our business partners – as well as our state and federal officials for their full support of this statewide workforce initiative. The focus of this initiative is to connect people to jobs and ultimately to expand our skilled workforce,” said Dr. Linda Allen, president of Hawkeye Community College. Hawkeye had an opportunity to lead the consortium of 15 Iowa community colleges to develop and submit this proposal. The College will use its portion of the grant funding to expand its credit and non-credit Industrial Maintenance program offerings.

The IHUM consortium project was one of 71 awarded nationwide under this year’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants.  Created in 2009, this is the fourth and final round of TAACCCT grants.  The awards are used to support community colleges in developing partnerships with employers to educate and train individuals for in-demand jobs.  The IHUM consortium project award is believed to be the largest TAACCCT grant awarded to the state of Iowa from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Through this project, Iowa’s community colleges will be aligning the state’s Information Technology, Healthcare, Utilities, and Manufacturing training programs with industry recognized credentials – such as those contained in the National Association of Manufacturer’s endorsed Skills Certification System.  The programs will assist a number of workers including those that are TAA-eligible, veterans, and other adult workers in need of training.

In addition, the IHUM consortium project will incorporate evidence-based strategies taken from a review of best practices from previously-funded TAACCCT projects.  Those strategies include comprehensive career pathways, use of simulation and technology, intensive student support services, and statewide data related to employment opportunities.

The project was supported by more than 30 businesses and business associations in Iowa.  The funding will be allocated over a four-year time period beginning on October 1, 2014.

Additional information on the TAACCCT grant program and the awarded funds is available in the White House news release: www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/29/fact-sheet-vice-president-biden-announces-recipients-450-million-job-dri.

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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