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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 Encourages Shoppers to Buy Local with Contest and Annual Home for the Holidays Campaign

Home for the Holidays is a seasonal retail campaign to encourage the local community to support the retail business investor/members of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  The Home for the Holidays message emphasizes the power local purchasing has to strengthen and enrich our community.  The campaign reminds shoppers that local spending  returns to the Cedar Valley in the form of critical tax revenue to fund public services, wages and benefits for our neighbors and family members, and local business to business commerce all fueling the Cedar Valley economy. Alliance & Chambers businesses will display the Home for the Holidays logo in their window and on their doors beginning this month.

New to the campaign this year is a Facebook contest. Twelve gift certificates to Alliance & Chamber businesses will be given away between Nov. 23 and Dec. 21. Shoppers are encouraged find Homer, the Home for the Holidays mascot, at participating Alliance & Chamber investor retailers. To win, shopper must look for clues found on the Alliance & Chamber website and Facebook page, then be the first to post a photo or ‘selfie’ on the Alliance & Chamber Facebook page. Posts should include the hashtag #CVHomefortheholidays. The photo must be taken at the business and include the Homer mascot.  If Homer has already been found and winner identified, shoppers can still post a ‘selfie’ with Homer to be entered in a drawing on Dec. 21.

In conjunction with the annual campaign, the Alliance & Chamber coupon & specials page provides  more incentives to shoppers to buy local. These coupons are in printer-friendly format or can be accessed through their mobile app Cedar Valley Connect , available on both iPhone and Android applications.

Shoppers can find a detailed Alliance & Chamber Investor Directory with links to coupons and specials at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com and on the Cedar Valley Connect mobile app.  All promotions are compiled at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/coupons/php.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, non-profit corporation representing and advocating for the interests of business, industry and institutions operating in the Cedar Valley. A top priority of the Alliance & Chamber is to sustain and strengthen the retail and service sector throughout the Cedar Valley.

For more information on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Home for the Holidays campaign go to www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/homefortheholidays , www.facebook.com/cedarvalleyalliance, or contact Steve Dust at 319-232-1156 or by email at sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

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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)

Three Reinvestment District Projects receive provisional funding approvals

The Iowa Reinvestment District Program is designed to assist communities in developing transformative projects that will improve the quality of life, create and enhance unique opportunities and substantially benefit the community, region and state. The program provides for up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be “reinvested” within approved districts. Districts cannot exceed 25 acres in size and must be in an Enterprise Zone or Urban Renewal Area.

Iowa Reinvestment District plans must include tax revenues generated by “new retail establishments” and “new lessors”.  New retail establishments cannot exceed 50 percent of the total proposed capital investment. At least one of the new proposed projects within the district must reach a total capital investment of $10 million. And, the total amount of new tax revenues to be remitted to the municipality cannot exceed 35 percent of the total cost of all proposed projects in the district plan.

Three of the 10 applicants received a score in excess of 70 points (out of 100) and presented their projects to the Due Diligence Committee in May. The IEDA board today, upon the recommendation of the Due Diligence Committee, decided on provisional funding for the projects in the city of Des Moines, the city of Muscatine and the city of Waterloo.

The provisional funding decisions are designed to provide practical feedback for municipalities interested in creating a reinvestment district but are not final or binding. Following the provisional approval, final application materials fully meeting all of the program’s requirements are due prior to March 1, 2015. Applicants may amend any part of the pre-application to represent any change to the proposed projects within the district. The final application will be re-scored in the same manner as the pre-application, if changes are made. The board’s final funding decision may be different from the provisional funding decision based on the final application.

The city of Des Moines was provisionally approved for a maximum of $36,487,400 in funding for its proposed district in the city’s downtown. The Des Moines plan proposes a total capital investment of $178.5 million and includes building a convention headquarters hotel, investing in infrastructure and amenities to support new visitors, redeveloping important downtown sites, preserving significant architecture, improving walk-ability throughout downtown, and connecting important amenities such as the Iowa Events Center, Principal Riverwalk, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines and Cowles Commons, the East Village, Court Avenue and Western Gateway Park.

The Muscatine Reinvestment District received provisional funding approval of $10 million maximum for its $41.1 million capital investment. This district includes one major project, the Riverview Suites Development, consisting of three elements: the construction of a new hotel, the remodel of a vacant building into a conference and events center, and the construction of a parking ramp.

The city of Waterloo was provisionally approved for $12 million maximum for the TechWorks district, located at the west end of downtown and made up of land donated by Deere & Company. The district has a capital investment of $74.1 million and includes three projects. The first is a mixed-use development including a business-class hotel, industrial incubator, private sector lab and manufacturing maker-space and John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum.  The second project area includes commercial out-lots such as a restaurants and retailers that complement other project areas. The third project area includes a marina for boat storage, boat sales, fuel sales and a riverfront restaurant.

Full application materials for these three projects will be available within 10 days for public viewing at www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/CommunityDevelopment/ReinvestmentDistrict. Applications for subsequent Reinvestment Districts will be accepted from March 1-15, 2015.

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Download a spreadsheet of today’s awards:
http://iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/UserDocs/documents/IEDA/june14awards.pdf

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.

 

ADVERTISING AGENCIES HRB AND ME&V ANNOUNCE MERGER New corporate name is AMPERAGE

Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls, March 3, 2014—Henry Russell Bruce (HRB) and ME&V Advertising + Consulting today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge two of Iowa’s top advertising agencies on April 1. The merger will create a combined company of more than 50 people with offices in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Bettendorf, Iowa.

Joining the firms brings together Jim Thebeau, CEO at HRB and Steve Erickson, President and Executive Creative Director at HRB, with Bryan Earnest, ME&V Partner and President, Jim Infelt, ME&V Partner and Creative Director, and Mark Mathis III, ME&V Partner and Director of Cool.  Dee Vandeventer, ME&V Partner and Director of Operations and Fundraising, will retire as a partner and continue working as a fundraising advisor for the new organization.

“Business is moving toward more integrated marketing and communications,” said Earnest, who will serve as president of the new company. “This merger empowers us to better execute traditional and digital communications with clients who need deep expertise and expanded bandwidth to stay competitive in this cluttered marketplace. It also allows us to target prospects outside our current markets.”

The alliance will create one of the largest advertising agencies in Eastern Iowa and the largest fundraising-consulting firms in the state with more than $100 million raised for nonprofits (including the recent Cedar Rapids Library 3.0 campaign) over the last 15 years.

“This alliance allows us to leverage skills and talent in ways that will greatly benefit our clients,” said Thebeau, who will serve as chairman of the board for the new company. “Key strategic benefits of the merger include accelerated technology and new media integration, increased content development and deployment, and video in cross-platform applications.”

On April 1, 2014, the merger will take place. The new company will not retain either of the existing names.  The new organization’s name is “AMPERAGE.” The branding line for the new entity is “Move the Needle.”

“Our new name represents the cross-platform strength of signal or message for any business or organization.  We want to forge a powerful connection for clients to energize business growth,” said Mathis. “Today there is no middle ground—you’re either moving the needle or you’re not.”

This alliance of the two well-known agencies brings together high-end strategic marketing, design, video production, crisis communications, research, brand development, public relations, social media, APP development, website building and consulting, search engine optimization, and capital campaign fundraising consulting all under one company banner.

“Our shared vision for AMPERAGE is the need to discover the connection between our clients and their audiences, then, what motivates them in ways that can be measured,” said Erickson.

Even though a major benefit of merging is economies of scale, the new company is positioning for growth and future expansion.

“We are not planning any down-sizing due to the merger. In fact, if anything, we’ll be hiring,” said Earnest. “We are positioned for growth and we plan to merge with two more agencies in order to accelerate growth and enhance our capabilities.”

According to Infelt, “Marketing is changing so much that new-age agencies need to be able to integrate messaging on all platforms from television to smartphones.  If you want to see results, you need to embrace all media and consider your brand and content across all platforms.”

For more details about the new company formed by the merger, or to hire us, visit www.AmperageMarketing.com or call 800-728-2656.

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Career Opportunities in Economic Developement & Investor Developement with Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chambe

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber has two positions available:

Job Title: Director of Investor Relations

Description: This person will be responsible for achieving revenue goals through the creation & execution of investor recruitment & retention programs. Bachelors degree with at least 3 years related experience preferred. Competitive salary with incentive structure and benefit package available.

Job Title: Director of Business Retention

Description: Seeking candidates to plan, develop and implement regional economic development initiatives for business retention and expansion. Bachelors degree required with at least 3 years related experience. The successful candidate will be part of a results driven, fast pace work and collaborative team.

Full descriptions are available at here and at  www.workthevalley.org

 

Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference Scheduled for February 5

The Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference is scheduled for February 5 in Waterloo.  The conference will be held from 8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Tama Hall on Hawkeye Community College’s campus.  The conference is open to the public and there is no charge to attend.

Individuals who work in manufacturing will find this conference informative as they network with other decision makers, discuss the global marketplace, review employment trends and statistics, question the panelists, and tour Hawkeye’s vitual technology labs.

The keynote speaker is Tom Kammer, manufacturing consultant at the Center for Business & Industry at South Central College in Minnesota.  Kammer specializes in helping organizations with Process Improvement. He is a nationally certified trainer with implementation experience with more than 200 companies.

The conference is co-sponsored by Hawkeye Community College Business and Community Education and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber.  Those interested in attending should call 319-296-4223 to register or online at www.hawkeyecollege.edu/go/manufacturing.

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Alliance & Chamber Investors to attend Cedar Valley Legislative Reception

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber will host its annual Cedar Valley Legislative Reception on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 from 5:00-7:00 PM, in the Terrace Ballroom, Renaissance Savery Hotel, 401 Locust St., Des Moines.

Investors in the Alliance & Chamber are invited to attend and share the story of the Cedar Valley and discuss issues of importance to Cedar Valley businesses with Legislators and other key administration officials. Legislators from 12 Iowa counties, along with the Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds, Debi Durham, Director of Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), and Ed Wallace, Director of Iowa Workforce Development are expected to attend.

There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is appreciated  by calling the Alliance & Chamber at (319)232-1156.

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