Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance will focus on workforce recruitment

New marketing program will feature targeted efforts in Midwestern cities

Published: January 28 2014 | 6:52 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:48 am in
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The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance will be putting a greater emphasis on workforce recruitment in 2014.

During its annual meeting  Tuesday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, the organization announced it is investing $750,000 in a new campaign.

It will include targeted marketing in Midwestern cities as well as certain cities throughout the country, a portal for those interested in relocating through Corridor Careers (owned by The Gazette Co. ), and a "Stay Here Initiative" targeting students graduating from the University of Iowa and other Corridor colleges.

Dee Baird, president of the economic development agency, said workforce issues came up time and time again last year in staff meetings with employers throughout the region.

Baird also touched on the group's new Building Swagger marketing campaign, a two-year effort that aims to strengthen the area's pride and capitalize on its momentum. The campaign includes airing several commercials featuring Corridor companies and employees who are "creating in Iowa's Creative Corridor."

"The Iowa humility is not helping us," Baird said. "We need to declare that we are special and that this is a great place to live."

The Iowa City Area Development Group is pursuing a similar branding campaign called Iowa Brag, posting facts on Twitter and Tumblr.

The Economic Alliance touted its 2013 accomplishments and those of Corridor businesses Tuesday, including the retention of 1,054 members or 94 percent, averaging more that 13,800 attendees at its weekly farmers' market, starting several pop-up shops downtown, and launching a new website.

Several awards were handed out Tuesday, including the Small Business of the Year Award that went to Bimm Ridder Sportswear; Volunteer of the Year to Tim Klima, an attorney with Shuttleworth & Ingersoll PLC; Regional Excellence to Chuck Peters, president and CEO of The Gazette Co.; and the Howard Hall Excellence in Business Award to Pat Baird,  retired president and CEO of AEGON USA; Clay Jones, chairman of the board at Rockwell Collins, and John Smith, chairman of the board at CRST International, and his wife Dyan.

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