Young Professional Recruitment and Retention Keeps Talent Local

Jul 30, 2020

Even with an ever-shifting job environment, the importance of continuing to build a pipeline of young talent remains vitally important to the success of the region. While recent college graduates have a more immediate need of employment, underclassmen are also needing to be informed and immersed in the region.

Summer Internship Series Reaches Interns in ICR and Across the Country

Summer internship series, Ignite ICR, moved to a virtual format this year, seeing an average of 90 college students and interns per session. Showcasing the region through a computer screen to many interns that haven’t had the chance to visit the region has proved challenging, but through messaging by some of the region’s biggest champions and engaging topics that show off our region, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. While many interns attending Ignite ICR programming live and work in Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR), the program is also reaching interns across the country. Interns living in spots like California, Florida and across the East Coast that are working remotely for businesses in ICR are learning about ICR and what makes us a great place to land after college through Ignite ICR.

Two virtual sessions remain, on July 16 and July 30. To view recordings of past programs or to sign-up for future events, visit Ignite ICR is hosted by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Iowa City Area Business Partnership in partnership with ICR IOWA.

Community Presentations for Young Professionals

Economic Alliance Young Professional Recruitment Specialist, Jordan Atwater has been conducting custom presentations for Economic Alliance member businesses and local higher education institutions, catered to young professionals and centered around quality of life, economic opportunity and community resiliency. Any Economic Alliance member interested in a presentation can contact Jordan at or 319-730-1412.

Area Private Colleges Partner to Create Resource for Area Employers

With 2020 college graduates entering a challenging job market, three of Cedar Rapids’ higher educational institutions partnered to create a new graduate resume book that offers employers the resumes of more than 70 recent graduates who are actively seeking opportunities within ICR. These recent graduates, from Coe College, Cornell College and Mount Mercy University, encompass a wide range of majors and many have previous internship experience. Those interested in receiving the resume book should contact Economic Alliance’s Young Professional Recruitment Specialist, Jordan Atwater, at

“Due to the pandemic, the class of 2020 was forced to enter a very tough job market. We quickly came to the conclusion that there would be power in combining our efforts to showcase graduates from all three institutions in one easy format as a resume book, that would get recent graduates noticed by ICR employers.

Not only did this initiative give the graduates that participated visibility they might not have otherwise had, it also provided ICR organizations with very strong talent, some of whom weren’t initially considering staying in the area. We also were looking for ways to express our appreciation to area employers for the partnerships we have and providing them this complimentary resource was one way we could showcase our gratitude. This is a tangible demonstration of how nimbly our institutions can pivot to meet demand.” - Joint Statement from Career Services Offices of Coe College, Mt. Mercy University and Cornell College

UPCOMING EVENTS - Register at!

July 16 - Making an Impact, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

This session will look at what an ICR resident is doing to give back and make an impact within the community.

Professional Skill: What valuable skills do you have and how can you best showcase them when searching and applying for new jobs? Join us for an introduction to Emsi Skillsmatch and Emsi Resume Builder, two tools that can help you connect and stand out during a job search.

July 30 - Launching Your Career, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Our final Ignite ICR event of the year will focus on the job opportunities that exist within ICR Iowa. Jennifer Daly, President and CEO of ICR Iowa will give a short overview of key industries and the businesses that represent them within the region. Attendees will also get the chance to hear from and ask questions to a panel of local young professionals about why they chose the region, and what it’s like working for their respective companies.

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