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Collaborative Growth Partners Seek Director

June 3, 2024 | Economic Development & Workforce

The area’s Collaborative Growth Initiative will take another step forward with the launch this week of a search for a full-time leader of the effort. The new director-level position at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance will lead efforts to grow the area’s workforce population, leveraging and coordinating public and private sector resources.

The Collaborative Growth Initiative began as a public-private partnership among the cities of Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Marion along with the Economic Alliance. Partners initially funded and worked together on a wide-ranging report on demographics, perceptions and strategies for growth. That report stressed the need to create a position to put full-time focus on implementation of growth strategies.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell highlighted the effort at her State of the City event last month and strongly supports creation of the new position. “We have amazing communities to promote and a strong plan for growth. Now that we have identified target markets filled with potential talent with the exact skills that the Greater Cedar Rapids region is seeking, our efforts can shift to implementation,” O’Donnell said. “This new position at the Economic Alliance demonstrates all our partners’ commitment to the initiative.”

Hiawatha Mayor Steve Dodson agreed. “We have some momentum right now,” Dodson said. “Let’s keep working together to build on that.”

While the report outlines numerous long-term growth efforts, the earliest focus will be on talent attraction strategies using digital marketing strategies to target workers with specific skillsets in Wisconsin, the metro areas of Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis and areas of southern California, including Los Angeles.

Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly said the key will be sustaining varied growth efforts by many people and groups over a long period of time. “Each of the cities in the region can lead on some strategies, but this is going to take a comprehensive effort by leaders from all sectors. This is a great opportunity to work collaboratively as a region.”

More details on experience and educational requirements of the position are available at The position description also notes the person hired will help coordinate the local initiative with a similar statewide growth initiative and will create a new Workforce Innovation Council of area stakeholders to help bring public, private and non-sector expertise to the effort.

“We hope news of this leadership position generates interest from local candidates who want to lead an initiative that could have a transformational impact on this area,” said the Economic Alliance’s executive director Doug Neumann.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Audrey Wheeler, the Economic Alliance’s director of organizational development, at