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

Tag Archives: workforce development


The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber announces nominations will be accepted now through the end of Oct. 31, 2014 for Diversity & Inclusion Business Awards to be presented during the 2015 Annual Celebration on Thursday, March 26th at the Park Place Event Centre.

This recognition is 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.

Nominations can be made through the nomination form on the Alliance & Chamber website, www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/diversity through the end of October. Nominees will be invited to complete an application and interview process to determine winners.

Past award winners from the 2014 event include Allen College Unity Point and Veridian Credit Union. Past award winners from the 2013 event include Em’s Coffee of Independence, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Iowa, Inc., and Wartburg College.

The Cedar Valley Diversity and Inclusion initiative is designed to strengthen the Cedar Valley through promoting diversity, full inclusion, and cultural competencies in business, and to focus on the importance, impact and benefits to business of effective diversity and inclusion practices. The partnership also hosts an annual educational summit in the fall and two multicultural receptions throughout the year.  The next reception will be Oct. 28th at Hawkeye Community College from 4:30-6:30pm.

Descriptions of the awards, nomination forms, and application form are available at the Alliance & Chamber offices or online at www. cedarvalleyalliance.com/diversity .  For additional information, please contact Alliance & Chamber Vice President of Community Development, Cary Darrah  at cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com or 232-1156.



Alliance & Chamber Supports Cedar Falls Facilities Plan Bond Proposal

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber supports the comprehensive facilities plan proposed by the Cedar Falls Community School District, and encourages patrons of the district to support this important program at the polls on Tuesday September 9.

Businesses and institutions of all types and sizes rely on modern infrastructure to encourage and accommodate economic growth and job creation. Perhaps as in no time in the past, the quality of educational content and experience delivered in advanced school facilities is critical to the continuing strength of our economy. Our Cedar Valley regional school facilities must lead in design, features and amenities to help our students become leaders in educational preparation and attainment.

This is true throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.  We have all seen tangible and intangible benefits from the building program financed by the Local Option Sales Tax over the last decade. Now, it is essential that our educational facilities at all levels prepare students for the emerging jobs and challenges of community citizenship of tomorrow.

We point out that this is precisely the kind of investment that must be made now to ensure that our students can take advantage of the opportunities of the future economy. Our businesses are particularly sensitive to increases in property taxes given the disproportionate burden placed directly on commercial and industrial property owners and indirectly on their tenants. For us to see the advantages to these investments in school facilities, we also recognize a huge return on these investments – a return that comes in the form of more successful teacher recruitment and retention, and student preparation and achievement.  We must see the plan helping to “fill the pipeline” with graduates well-prepared to assume highly productive roles in the future economy. We currently have a skills mismatch, and a shortage of talented people for new jobs that rely on “brainpower” and soft skills. Students with rounded educational experiences highlighted by hands-on experience, and achievement in sciences, technologies, mathematics, as well as the arts and the interpersonal skills are and will be needed. We must make these key investments to provide the best environments in which knowledge and skills are learned and attract the highest quality educators.

But schools facilities construction programs cannot be executed outside the parameters we expect of any public investment in infrastructure or service. Further, with many school districts and institutions within the Cedar Valley examining capital and facilities programs and financings, we must insist on consistency in evaluation of the proposals and value delivered to the taxpayers, as well as the students of our regional districts and institutions.

  • We believe that the plans must take into account the most modern design and service delivery models feasible.
  • The plans must be comprehensive and consider new partnerships with other educational institutions and districts, fulfilling its obligations to the patrons of the specific school district or constituency while maximizing collaboration, coordination and minimization of duplication among neighboring school districts and higher educational institutions in programs, human resources, curriculum, and services.
  • The plans must have been vetted by the patrons in a manner to elicit and consider the spectrum of views on feasibility, financing mechanisms, and impact on their community, in order to establish credibility for the amounts needed to implement modern, and indeed, futuristic facilities expansion, repurposing, and replacement programs.

The Cedar Falls proposal meets these criteria and the expectations of our economy.

  • The district has been very good stewards of the patrons’ funds, maintaining a very low tax rate as compared to similar sized districts
  • The district has not asked their patrons to approve a bond issue for facilities in nearly 40 years.
  • The plan replaces facilities for rational reasons: the new facilities replace obsolete designs that can no longer be modified and upgraded to meet modern standards; landlocked facilities are moved to larger sites where future needs can be anticipated and addressed; and facilities are located where population growth is occurring and anticipated in the district.
  • The plan was vetted by District leadership internally and with significant community involvement, review and comment.

We encourage businesses, parents and all patrons of the Cedar Falls Community School district to support the bond referendum on Tuesday September 9.

Adopted by the Board of Directors

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber



Steve Tscherter



Steve Dust, CEcD





Branstad signs the Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act into law

May 27, 2014

– Gov. Terry E. Branstad today was joined by Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham as he signed the Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act into law.

“Across Iowa we’re seeing record-breaking economic development projects that have resulted in more Iowans working than ever before in our state’s history,” said Branstad. “The projects bring an increased demand for skilled tradespeople. The Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act will ensure companies looking to expand or build in Iowa are met with a well-trained workforce.”

“Economic development projects across Iowa since 2011 have brought quality, good-paying jobs to our communities,” said Reynolds. “In order to continue to attract these companies, and the jobs they bring with them, we must have a highly-skilled workforce ready to meet the demands of our growing economy. The Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act will expand funding for apprenticeship training, help reduce student debt and provide Iowans the skills needed for a successful career.”

The Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act does the following:

  • Allow students to earn while they learn, rather than taking on significant student debt.  They provide the apprentice with focused, hands-on training and a paycheck from day one.
  • The Governor’s plan triples funding for apprenticeships while reforming and improving the state’s apprenticeship program.
  • With over $8.8 billion in capital investments incentivized by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, demand for a skilled workforce has increased all across our state.
  • Nationwide, there are registered apprenticeships for more than 1,000 occupations, with programs impacting 250,000 employers and approximately 450,000 apprentices. In Iowa in FY13, there were 662 registered apprenticeship programs, and over 8,100 registered apprentices.


Cedar Valley Investor Report

The Cedar Valley Investor Report gives a snap shot of the activities of the Alliance & Chamber, news from our investors, and informative articles selected for their relevance to economic growth in the Cedar Valley.

Cedar Valley Investor Report

Leader Valley and the University of Northern Iowa to Cosponsor 2015 Franklin Covey Leader in Me Symposium

WATERLOO & CEDAR FALLS, IOWA –The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Leader Valley, in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa, announce that the Cedar Valley has been selected as a 2015 Leader in Me Symposium Series site by FranklinCovey. The Leader in Me Symposium will be held April 22-24, 2015 on the UNI Campus. An estimated 400 people are expected at this regional professional learning conference. Attendees will be introduced to the advancements of Cedar Valley schools implementing Leader in Me, FranklinCovey’s whole school education transformation process, which teaches leadership principles to students in K-12 schools and embeds leadership as a core within their school culture.
Leader Valley Director, Melissa Reade, is particularly excited about this opportunity. “We’ve gone through an extensive vetting process to be selected as a Symposium site and we are thrilled for many reasons. This professional learning conference is world class. To be able to host it here in the Cedar Valley is a unique opportunity and honor.”

Symposium participants will learn in a high-powered environment that hosts an impressive lineup of inspirational thought leaders on education leadership topics. Participants will observe students demonstrating their leadership mind-set and skill-set through public speaking, practitioner sessions, talent presentations, and assigned leadership roles. Participants will also visit Leader in Me schools throughout the Cedar Valley to learn first-hand how leadership is infused into all facets of school life, including relationships, environment, curriculum, instruction, systems, and traditions of each school. Lastly, participants will engage in dynamic breakout sessions on developing leadership cultures and building family and community partnerships, as well as providing students with authentic and meaningful leadership opportunities.
CBE Companies CEO and current Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Board Chair Tom Penaluna accepted a congratulatory call from FranklinCovey’s Sean Covey, during which Penaluna was informed of the Cedar Valley’s selection as a Symposium site. Covey reiterated the significance of the work that Leader Valley is doing to collectively support all of the students and schools in Waterloo-Cedar Falls. Dustin Odham, Leader Valley’s assigned FranklinCovey Education Practice Leader went on to say, “Leader Valley is creating a community unlike any other. The school and community leaders involved in this leadership work are doing it for the right reasons and have the heart and desire to do this well. I leave more inspired every time I visit and I want many more people to have the same opportunity. That is why I fought to ensure this community hosted a Leader in Me Symposium.”
UNI College of Education Dean Dr. Dwight Watson expressed his excitement about the announcement by saying, “It is an honor to host the 2015 Leader in Me Symposium. I have been a fan of Covey’s work since the beginning of my professional career.  I celebrate the fact The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been transferred into K-12 practices for children and youth because these habits are important elements in their leadership and character development.  Our hope is that the Symposium will showcase how engaged the Cedar Valley is in the work of Leader in Me and that we can perfect what we do by learning from others.”
Reade says, “It is reflection of the great leadership work being done collectively in our Cedar Valley schools. When you consider that the Symposiums are typically held in larger cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, and Brooklyn, FranklinCovey believes we are doing something right. The Symposium provides an opportunity to not only showcase student leadership from the Cedar Falls Schools, Cedar Valley Catholic Schools, and Waterloo Schools, but also highlight our higher-education partnership in this leadership work, as well as bring attention to the Cedar Valley.”

“As we learn more about the preparation process for the Symposium, we are confident there will be ample opportunities for Leader Valley and UNI to synergize with other education and community organizations, as well as Iowa Leader in Me schools outside the Cedar Valley and businesses to make this Symposium one of the best,” said Reade. Hawkeye Community College and CBE Companies have already committed as awareness partners for the upcoming promotions of the Symposium.
Leader in Me has been adopted as a core operating system in 1,500 schools in more than 35 countries, with more than 600,000 students and 50,000 staff having been trained worldwide. Across the Cedar Valley, there are 14 Leader in Me schools, with 6,075 students and 842 educators already trained and embarking on their leadership journey. Within the Waterloo Community School District, Dr. Walter Cunningham Elementary, Fred Becker Elementary, Kittrell Elementary, Orange Elementary, Poyner Elementary, George Washington Carver Academy, and Hoover Middle School are implementing Leader in Me. Cedar Falls Community Schools implementing Leader in Me include North Cedar Elementary, Orchard Hill Elementary, Southdale Elementary, and Lincoln Elementary. Cedar Valley Catholic Schools infusing Leader in Me include Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School and St. Edwards Elementary.
For more information on the Leader in Me Symposium, visit http://www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium or http://cedarvalleyalliance.com/cms/220/Leader_Valley.You can also learn more by contacting Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at (319) 232-1156 or at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

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


Transformational 7 Habits training offered by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association, is offering 7 Habits Cedar Valley leadership training to their investor/member organizations and the Cedar Valley area. Two separate, 2- day sessions will be held, one session for Cedar Valley businesses and the other for nonprofit organizations.

7 Habits Cedar Valley  is based on the work of Dr. Stephen Covey’s best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Incorporating the techniques taught at the 7 Habits Cedar Valley helps organizations achieve and sustain superior results by increasing the effectiveness of its individual employees. Participants gain hands-on experience, applying sound principles that yield greater productivity, improved communication, strengthened relationships, increased influence, and laser-like focus on critical priorities.  At the request of the Alliance & Chamber, the sessions will be lead by the talented and highly regarded Franklin Covey facilitator, Gary McGuey.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Business will take place on January 21-22, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Windridge, Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls. The cost is $450 per person for Alliance & Chamber investors and $550 for others. A 10% discount is being offered to businesses who register by December 15, 2013.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Nonprofits will take place on January 23-24, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Allen College – Unity Point, Waterloo. The special nonprofit rate is $225 for Alliance & Chamber investors and Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association members. The cost for other nonprofits is $300.  No other discounts apply.

Leader Valley Program Director, Melissa Reade of the Alliance & Chamber points out what a unique opportunity this is for the Cedar Valley as the training has not been offered  locally. She stresses the huge savings available to Cedar Valley employers planning on sending their employees to the sessions. The cost for similar sessions is typically is between $1,700 -$2,200 per person, plus travel expenses to the training location.


“The 7 Habits are transforming Cedar Valley schools and building our business leaders of tomorrow through The Leader in Me. We have the opportunity to create stronger leadership cultures by applying these same principles in the workplace today,” offers Melissa Reade.  She adds, “This training can have the same dramatic impact on organizations and move the needle for employers. We encourage every business and nonprofit to take advantage of this rare opportunity and tremendous value.”

Registration can be made through the end of December on the Alliance & Chamber website at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/7habitscedarvalley  or by calling 319-232-1156.

Sponsors include Advanced Systems, Allen College – Unity Point, CUNA Mutual Foundation, and Western Home Communities.

7 Habits Cedar Valley is brought to this area by the Leader Valley initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. Leader Valley is a conduit for business and education to collaborate and provide leadership and soft skill development opportunities, enhancing our workforce, and moving the Cedar Valley economy forward.

More information on 7 Habits Cedar Valley and other ways Leader Valley is impacting the Cedar Valley can be found on the Alliance & Chamber website or by contacting Program Director, Melissa Reade by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.



CBE Companies to Add 400 New Jobs – Expansion to Make 18-Million Dollar Economic Impact

CBE Companies, a business process outsourcing (BPO) organization announced plans to add up to 400 in the Cedar Falls-Waterloo area  in the next 12 to 18 months, using a large-scale job fair to kick off the hiring process.

The company has offices in Cedar Falls and Waterloo; Overland Park, Kan.; and Manila, Philippines. This wave of growth will likely create the need for a third location in the Cedar Valley within the next 15 months. The expansion stems from new client acquisitions within two of its subsidiaries, CBE Group and CBE Customers Solutions.

CBE Customer Solutions was awarded a new contract with a major telecommunications provider, which starts in early 2014. In addition, CBE Group has new contracts with a number of large health care providers and is experiencing significant growth in the financial services, communications and education sectors.

The ongoing growth demands that nearly 200 positions be filled by the end of February.

CBE is recruiting individuals for inbound and outbound representatives (full- and part-time positions), representatives bilingual in English and Spanish, front-line supervisors and managers, IT, analytics, finance and other professional support positions.

Candidates interested in applying for any of the positions available are encouraged to attend the Nov. 19 job fair at the Cedar Falls office. To search open positions and apply online, visit www.CBEJobs.com.


Hawkeye Community College to Showcase Expanded Services for Veterans New Center to Honor Veterans Will Be Unveiled on Veterans Day – November 11

WATERLOO—On Veterans Day, Hawkeye Community College will unveil and showcase its new “Military and Veterans Resource Center” as part of its commitment to veterans and military personnel.  Hawkeye has been in the forefront addressing the military students’ needs for many years.  This includes hosting career fairs and resource events, providing faculty and staff training on veteran’s issues in the classroom, creating a task force, and hosting the Cedar Rapids Vet Center Mobile Unit on campus.

The college has greatly expanded resources and services for veterans and military students, as well as their spouses and dependents.  Services offered by the college include career counseling, orientation, and student health/mental health services.  A full-time veteran’s coordinator, Robin Knight, has been designated to assist military and student veterans returning from service to transition to a college lifestyle.  Knight’s position ensures each student has the services necessary to achieve their academic goals.

On Monday, November 11, beginning at 1:00 p.m. interested individuals can preview the new Military and Veterans Resource Center, which is located in the Brock Student Center until 4:00 p.m.  In addition, a Veteran’s ceremony will take place from 12:15 – 12:45 p.m., in Tama Hall, during which time there will be a presentation to the family of Phil Thomas in honor of his military service.  Thomas was a Waterloo veteran and served in the U.S. Navy.  He passed away in March of this year and was a member and chaplain of American Legion Post 138.  All events are open to the public.

This year Hawkeye made the coveted “Military Friendly Schools” list for the fourth year in a row.  The 2014 Military Friendly Schools® list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

The common bond of those on the list is their shared priority of providing educational services and training to students with military experience.  Tens of billions of dollars in education benefits are available for veterans and in some cases, their dependents.  The percentage of veterans who use their military benefits to attend college has increased dramatically in the past years.  The past year, Hawkeye served 354 students, which represents a growth of more than 25 percent over the last couple of years.

For additional information, contact Robin Knight at 319-296-2320, ext. 1212.



Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks Director of Business Services


The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks candidates passionate and skilled in helping businesses become more successful in the Cedar Valley economic area to become our Director of Business Services. This person will plan, develop and implement economic development initiatives for business retention & expansion; including create, lead and execute workforce development initiatives and events that promote job creation, and workforce recruitment & retention in basic industry sectors and related value-added industries. Also, this person will help businesses overcome barriers to expansion in the Cedar Valley, collect and report information regarding the plans, opportunities and barriers for growth of our wealth creating businesses and targeted institutions as well as deliver “economic gardening” services to growth-oriented basic businesses. They will also provide a critical feedback from business into programming and government relations.

Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree with specialization in economic and community development or business and at least 3 years of related experience; computer skills, including Microsoft Office; and social media knowledge. Knowledge of Synchronist and client management software helpful. Comprehensive knowledge of business development, factors affecting business and community vitality, as well as community and economic development required. Problem solving in ambiguous situations, ability to maintain confidentiality and a passion for the success of free enterprise are all required skills and talents for success in this role. The successful candidate is expected to be part of a fast pace work and collaborative team that is results driven. Competitive salary and benefit package included. Please send cover letter, resume and references to:

SSommerfelt@cedarvalleyalliance.com. Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, 10 West Fourth Street, Suite 310, Waterloo, IA 50701.

To see the full description and instructions click here.

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