Waterloo, IA: (319) 232-1156 | Cedar Falls, IA: (319) 266-3593

Tag Archives: programs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber 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


Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber





Community Leaders Team Up to Recruit Investors to Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Economic progress in the Cedar Valley is clearly visible. New development in our downtowns and business districts, industrial and technology parks, and residential construction bring daily improvements to the physical and economic landscape. The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is the driving force behind this economic and community development. The mission of the Alliance & Chamber, to increase economic vitality and wealth, is fulfilled by its many initiatives and programs focused on attracting new business, growing existing business, and talent recruitment and retention. The Alliance & Chamber is the champion for issues that foster a positive business climate for local industry and small business throughout the Cedar Valley Region.

Recent notable Alliance & Chamber accomplishments include:

  • Cedar Valley TechWorks – Designated as the Advanced Manufacturing Hub for the region and state, receiving $3.5 million for construction improvements, and purchase and installation of the largest 3D printer in North America, sponsored in part by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
  • Leader Valley – 14 Cedar Valley schools have implemented Leader in Me™, with 30 Leader in Me™ events engaging approximately 6,900 people to increase the “soft skills” of our future workforce and talent pool.
  • 26 opportunities delivered for business expansion, retention and recruitment, at an average of $9.46M in value.  502 jobs meet the $19/hr. goal.
  • 5 projects were completed this fiscal year representing $19 million in new capital investment.
  • 504 businesses received direct, hands-on involvement services to grow, solve problems and learn.
  • 4 Cedar Valley companies received in-depth business model enhancement services through the new Advance Cedar Valley small business acceleration program.
  • Interviewed 51 firms to gather in-depth business and economic conditions data.
  • 27 Talent Recruitment events engaging 73 businesses and over 4,000 people.

To ensure this momentum continues the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is asking every member of the business community to participate in the Fulfilling the Vision 2 Campaign. Fulfilling the Vision 2 is a $4.25 million plan for regional economic growth. Funding for business development and growth will be solicited in the Cedar Valley economic area from both the private and public sectors.

Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber (GCVAC), along with Campaign Chair John Steen, Senior Vice President, Lincoln Savings Bank lead the Fulfilling the Vision 2 campaign leadership team.

Fulfilling the Vision 2 Campaign Leadership Team

Phil Akin; Sue Armbrecht, MidWestOne Bank;  Dave Braton, Courier Communications; Steve Brewer, U.S. Bank; Chris Fereday, PDCM Insurance; Hugh Field, Beecher Law Firm;Wade Itzen, BankIowa; Josh Hurley, First National Bank; Reid Koenig, CUNA Mutual Group; Kathryn Kunert, MidAmerican Energy; Jim McKernan, KWWL Television, Inc.; Dave Quint, Advanced Systems, Inc.; Alan Shakespeare, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; Dustin Whitehead, Lockard Companies.

The funds raised through the Fulfilling the Vision 2 Campaign will be reinvested in the Cedar Valley economy to further improve our competitiveness, increase talent development and recruitment, and expand the business base. Reaching the campaign goal will result in $67 million of additional personal earnings and $37 million in annual expenditures in the Cedar Valley.  A full description of campaign goals and six areas of focus can be found at www.FtV2.org.

For more information or to make an investment, please contact: Bette Wubbena, Director of Investment Recruitment by sending email to bwubbena@cedarvalleyalliance.com or to Steve Dust, CEO, at sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

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. The Alliance & Chamber was created to coordinate the resources allocated to economic development in the Cedar Valley, and provide a platform for shared services wherever possible.



Alliance & Chamber Seek Investor Input to 2014 Legislative Policy Agenda

As the Government Relations Committee begins deliberating on the 2014 GCVAC Legislative Policy Agenda, I want to extend a special invitation to an Investors’ Legislative Issues Forum on Monday, September 16, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cedar Falls from 8:00-9:00 am. This year, the Alliance & Chamber is offering an opportunity for investor involvement in legislative priority identification through this forum. Please come to hear from other investors what is on their minds as we begin crafting our 2014 agenda. Our hope is that this forum will give us an important head start and strengthen our efforts in identifying and prioritizing issues important to business in the Greater Cedar Valley as we build the Alliance & Chamber’s legislative agenda for the next session.

The October 11 Friday Forum will be at the Five Sullivan Bros. Center and the November 8 event will be at the Waterloo Center for the Arts.

Alliance & Chamber encourages voters to renew Hawkeye Community Collge Maintenance Levy

Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber resolve to support the approval of the renewal of the Hawkeye Community College  Maintenance Levy, and encourage the voters within the 10-county HCC District to approve the renewal on September 10, 2013.

Hawkeye Community College (HCC) delivers educational opportunities to students from all over the Cedar Valley Economic Area, and beyond. HCC serves as an important bridge into higher education for high school students wishing to advance their technical and general education, and presents educational options to high school students at a critical point in their educational experience. Further, HCC delivers 50 specialized career training programs developing a broad range of skills that are important to the continuing growth of the Cedar Valley economy and contribute to increasing the incomes of talented Cedar Valley people. These include such areas as health care technicians and nursing, teacher preparation, advanced manufacturing and basic industrial operations, green and sustainable construction and energy technologies, logistics and large vehicle drivers training, web design and information technologies, and more. HCC also collaborates closely with the University of Northern Iowa, Allen College, and other schools to ensure that higher educational programming is coordinated to deliver maximum productivity in the student’s experience, shorten the time the student must be in the formal educational setting as they seek to get into the job market quickly, and employers seek students to acquire basic skills to fill immediate openings in well paying, skill-based jobs.

To deliver these economy-building educational programs both efficiently and effectively, HCC must continuously maintain and improve its physical facilities. Since the primary programs of HCC are focused on the fast changing industries, continuously investing in more advanced technologies and methods, so too must HCC continuously invest in state of the art educational and training facilities to fully prepare the students to maximize their income when they enter the job market. For instance, Hawkeye has recently delivered facilities that, using advanced virtual technologies, reflect modern hospital and clinical conditions for healthcare technologist training; a center housing advanced driving simulators for logistics and large vehicle training; and are preparing to open, this fall, an advanced manufacturing center to ensure our production-oriented operations are receiving new employees with needed skills to advance the productivity and profitability of Cedar Valley industrial employers, as well as ensuring graduate building and energy technicians are well prepared to deliver the highest levels of expertise in energy efficiencies in construction and energy generation.

HCC has proven to be a good steward of the existing Maintenance Levy funds. The Levy has been authorized for nearly 50 years. The funds generated by the small levy have been used to continuously modernize and maintain the efficient campus.

HCC is highly beneficial to the Cedar Valley economy. It has an enrollment of over 6,000 students in college-credit programs. HCC also plays a significant role in establishing the Cedar Valley as an

ideal location to build a “second career” through lifelong learning and adult education courses. HCC is very efficient for Iowa: fully 94% of graduates stay in Iowa to contribute to our economy and participate in our communities. Cedar Valley businesses benefit from HCC’s $106 Million in annual economic benefits delivered, including over 1,300 jobs.

The impact of the extended levy of $.2025 per $1,000 of assessed value will cost the average district homeowner less than $11 per year, yet deliver over $1.7Million of revenue targeted to facilities improvements on the HCC campuses only.

Based on the high levels of reliance the Cedar Valley businesses have on the success of HCC, and that HCC’s role in skills training and higher education is increasing as talent and skills are what drives economic growth, that HCC has proven itself a good steward of the Maintenance Levy funds, and it is to the benefit of the Cedar Valley in greater skills delivered, converting to higher incomes and stronger communities throughout the economic area, delivered to students who primarily work at Cedar Valley businesses and institutions and live in the Cedar Valley, and the levy is a continuation of an existing levy that is well managed, the Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber resolve to support the approval of the renewal of the HCC Maintenance Levy, and encourage the voters within the 10-county HCC District to approve the renewal on September 10, 2013.

Further, the Board of Directors asks the CEO and his representatives to distribute its reasoning and action to the investor-members and general public through appropriate means and media.

Resolved unanimously by the Directors present at the Board of Directors meeting on July 21, 2013.


Tom Penaluna, Chair of the Board


Steven J. Dust, President & CEO, Secretary of the Board


Top ED Recommendations to the Obama Administration

As part of their Winning the Race 2012 series of policy briefs, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)  offers this policy brief titled: TOP POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO HELP THE UNITED STATES WIN THE RACE FOR GLOBAL ADVANTAGE.  The brief addresses five key areas; Trade Sector Competativeness, Taxes, Science and R&D, STEM, and Skills Digital Economy.

ITIF is a non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally. For more information on ITIF, go to www.itif.org.

Review the policy brief here.


Encouraging Young Professionals to Work the Valley

As part of an overall strategy to develop, recruit, and retain talented people in the Cedar Valley economic area, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is launching Work the Valley, a talent retention program targeting college students and young professionals (YPs). Work the Valley encourages YPs to stay in the Cedar Valley by showcasing appealing work places, careers, great company cultures and local life style amenities attractive to their demographic.

Work the Valley engages students and YPs with tours of Cedar Valley employers, business districts and cultural & entertainment venues, discussions & informative presentations, and specialty job fairs.

GCVAC Director of Business Services, Brittany Jungck says that when YPs experience firsthand all that the Cedar Valley offers they will be more likely to stay to build a career. “We want to show them that the Cedar Valley really can provide opportunities in line with their career goals yet with a much lower cost of living than bigger metros they may be attracted to.’’

The initial Work the Valley Bus Tour is November 1st in partnership with the UNI Career Center. Forty UNI students will visit four businesses and cultural venues and have opportunity to speak with 10 companies about current job openings and future employment outlooks.

Fulfilling the Vision2 – The Cedar Valley’s Equation for Continuing Economic Growth

The work of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber (GCVAC) is to help business and institutions grow in our area, increasing economic vitality and wealth. Repositioned and growing businesses and institutions have produced significant results for the Cedar Valley economic area over the past five years, which in­cluded some of the worst years in modern US economic history. GCVAC delivered major development projects, services and opportunities resulting in healthier businesses, over $260 million in new capital investment, good jobs, and a more robust business climate. In those unfavorable times, GCVAC’s work contributed to rising wages and a modest increase in population, when similar cities around the country saw decline. It has emerged as a leader in regional economic develop­ment, building relationships with businesses and development organizations throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.

The financial investments of businesses and institutions throughout the Cedar Valley fund our work – fulfilling your vision of more economic growth and prosper­ity to the area. The Fulfilling the Vision2 is both a framework plan and funding campaign designed to respond to today’s quickly shifting and sometimes unpredict­able economic realities. Through FtV2, the work of GCVAC is focused on: Workforce & Talent Retention, Recruitment and Development; Business Growth Through Expansion and Location in Targeted, High Value Sectors; Building a Strong Cedar Valley Brand Message to Businesses, Talent, and in Government Relations; In­crease Regional Collaboration Among Business & Civic Interests; and Collecting & Reporting Useful Data on our economic base. Emphasis will shift as opportuni­ties and need of our Cedar Valley region dictate.

GCVAC is finding strong, unprecedented regional support for FtV2 program and campaign. The campaign is now over the 50% level, with momentum building to reach successful completion near the end of 2012. To learn more, please visit www.CedarValleyAlliance.com to view a video featuring several area businesses, cities, and GCVAC work.

Your financial support – an investment in our work to expand our economy – is important to our success. It will benefit everyone who wants to strengthen our businesses, expand quality employment opportunities, and create a greater place to work, build a career, and enjoy life. To schedule an appointment with one of our FtV2Leadership Team volunteers to discuss why they are involved and how you can best assist, call Campaign Coordinator Blake Woods at 319-232-1156

Hawkeye’s New Regional Transportation Training Center Open House Scheduled for October 9

GCVAC investor and partner Hawkeye Community College is hosting an open house for the new $3.5 million truck and transportation training center, which will serve students, businesses, and organizations with their transportation and logistics training needs.  The Center is believed to be unique to the Midwest and the only one of its kind in Iowa.  Attendees can immerse themselves in state-of-the-art technology by test-driving the Driving Simulators or the Skid Monsters driver improvement vehicles.

The Center will allow Hawkeye to meet the emerging needs of a career field that is projected to grow by 21% over the next ten years.  Hawkeye’s Truck Driving program has a 100% placement rate.  Iowa currently has more than 50,000 individuals employed in the transportation industry that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

The event will take place  Tuesday, October 9, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  The short program begins at 5:15 p.m at the new Regional Transportation Training Center is located at 6433 Hammond Avenue, Waterloo.


Visitors  will be able to test their skills driving 2-wheels, 4-wheels, or 18-wheels in rain, snow, or ice as they maneuver through a virtual course using a driving simulator.

Also on display will be the Skid Monster teaches students how to safely maneuver around obstacles, drive in dangerous conditions, and properly control a vehicle. It is a fun experience that can help truck drivers, law enforcement officers, and the general public become better drivers.

Refreshments will be served, including burgers and brats.

Cedar Valley Industries to Host Over 1,300 Youth for National Manufacturing Day


Thirteen manufacturers will host Waterloo and Cedar Falls 9th graders in their facilities on Friday, October 5th as part of an activity for National Manufacturing Day.

CEDAR VALLEY of IOWA (September 12, 2012) — In response to the growing talent demand in advanced manufacturing in the Cedar Valley, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber (GCVAC) is sponsoring an educational event for all 9th graders attending Waterloo East and West High Schools, and Cedar Falls Peet and Holmes Junior High Schools; a total of more than 1,300 students.

On October 5th Students will make a one hour visit to a local manufacturing company, tour its production operations, and discuss the history and future of each company with leaders of the organization. The purpose of this event is to provide students, parents and educators with a greater understanding of modern manufacturing and the local firms that make up the Cedar Valley manufacturing community.

Also recognizing the need for hundreds of machinists, welders, technicians and assemblers across the region, Hawkeye Community College, John Deere, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Cedar Valley Manufacturers Association have signed on as additional sponsors.

“It was important to include all students in this activity, not just students interested in industrial technology,” said Brittany Jungck, Director of Business Services for the GCVAC, “Many young people have not had exposure to modern manufacturing. Our goal is to open their eyes to fantastic career opportunities.”

Companies participating in National Manufacturing Day vary from locally-owned operations such as Advanced Heat Treat, Kryton Engineered Metals, and Power Engineering and Manufacturing to national or global corporations such as John Deere, MetoKote and Omega Cabinets.

“Today, economic growth is tied to brain power not muscle power.  Manufacturing is a key component of our Cedar Valley economy, and smart, talented people are needed in the modern, advanced manufacturing plant.  Manufacturing Day is a great way to help students connect what they’re learning now with well-paying career choices in the Cedar Valley,” said GCVAC’s CEO Steve Dust.  He continues, “The manufactures, schools, and sponsors are delivering tremendous value to the students with this event, which will be returned with a larger, better-prepared talent pool in the future.”

To learn more about National Manufacturing Day, visit: www.mfgday.com or contact Brittany Jungck of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber at bjunck@cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling 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