Recruiting and retaining workforce is the No. 1 barrier to growth for area companies. Many companies are managing to find workers and grow, but it is a challenge almost everywhere. Talent attraction varies by industry and incorporate a wide array of outreach strategies and partner organizations. The Economic Alliance’s Workforce Solutions resource guide provides contacts, links, program descriptions and other tips that many companies will find helpful.

Workforce Resources

Economic Alliance Workforce Solutions Guide 2022 Economic Alliance Workforce Solutions Work Plan
Workforce Solutions Guide Workforce Solutions Work Plan 2022  

Workforce Attraction


The Iowa Compact on Immigration was launched in 2019 to promote immigration reform. In February, members of the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City business community, including the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, signed on in support of the set of principles outlining the need for smart immigration policies at the state and federal levels to drive Iowa's economy forward. Read more.

Immigration is one of our nation's greatest assets with communities across the country seeing positive effects of a growing immigrant population. New Americans' economic, civic, and cultural contributions have helped revitalize neighborhoods, create businesses large and small, and make cities more vibrant and competitive.

Cedar Rapids was one of 14 communities selected nationally for the 2019 Gateways for Growth award to receive research and technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America. The final report highlights the impact that immigrants in Cedar Rapids have on their community.The City of Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic also unveiled a Strategic Plan to help welcome and engage our immigrant population. Read the Welcoming Cedar Rapids: Action Plan here.

A growing number of places recognize that being welcoming leads to prosperity. Welcoming America provides the road map and support they need to become more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents. Learn more at

Mental Health

Resources for mental health, especially during this time of COVID-19, are important. Our partners have shared the following:

Child Care

Iowa Women's Foundation leads a workshop on Child Care Solutions in August, 2019.

There’s a child care shortage in Iowa. On average, one in two children go without access to affordable, quality child care. Our state has lost 42% of its child care businesses over the past five years. Child care is a family issue, a workforce issue and a community issue. Collaborative efforts are necessary to make a difference.

Resources From Iowa Women's Foundation: Child Care Matters to Iowa Businesses (PDF) | Business Best Practices and Resources (PDF) | What Can Business and Economic Leaders Do? (PDF) | Why Child Care Matters to Iowa Businesses (Slide Deck)

Resources From Black Hawk Child Care Coalition Leadership Team: Coalition Child Care Model 2019 (PDF) | Child Care & Workforce Report, Waterloo (PDF)

Visit the Linn County Childcare Coalition/Child Care Solutions Page

Fair Chance Hiring

Fair Chance Hiring Brochure

What is Fair Chance Hiring?
Fair Chance means a prospective candidate with a record (like arrest, probation, or incarceration) is not automatically disqualified from consideration for hiring. Fair Chance policies consider a candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of an arrest or conviction record, ensuring prospective employees are not automatically disqualified during the selection process. The hiring and decision-making remain solely with the employer. Major corporations like American Airlines, the Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, Google, PepsiCo, Starbucks and Xerox have taken the pledge to support Fair Chance Hiring.

Why Fair Chance?
1 in 4 Americans have had some sort of involvement with the criminal justice system that would be discovered during a routine background search. Such an individual is frequently referred to as a “Fair Chance Worker.”

When asked why a Fair Chance Worker was hired over another candidate, 50% or more managers and HR professionals said they wanted to hire the most qualified candidate. 67% believe the quality of work provided by a Fair Chance Worker is about the same or higher than that of workers without records. Barring all Fair Chance Workers from consideration narrows and an already tight labor pool and likely means noncompliance with federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EECO) regulations.

Read more by downloading the brochure here.

Download the 2020 Employer and Reentry Roundtable Booklet here.

Fair Chance Hiring is an initiative by The City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

National Employment Law Project 2011 Report. “65 Million Need Not Apply.”

“Workers with Criminal Records.” A survey for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago 3/23/to 4/2/2018.”

EEOC Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decision Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.In 2012 the EEOC directed employers to factors such as time elapsed since the offense, evidence of rehabilitation, and the relationship between the crime and job in question, in order to offer a case-by-case assessment as to whether a given criminal record is relevant

National Hire Network, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, and National Work Rights Institute. “Standards The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring.”

Ibid, page 6.

Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, Vol. 25.395. “Reconsidering Criminal Background Checks: Race, Gender and Redemption.”

Alfred Blumstein and Kiminori Makamura. NIJ Journal Issue No. 263. “Redemption in an Era of Widespread Criminal Background Checks.” Fourteen million arrests are recorded annually in the United States. The “hazard rate,” or the probability over time that someone who has stayed clean will be arrested, declines to the same arrest rate for the general population at around three to seven years after an arrest occurred, depending on the age at which the individual was arrested and the crime that he/she was arrested for (robbery, burglary, or aggravated assault).

Jan 12, 2018 - Abstract. Lundquist, Jennifer Hickes & Pager, Devah & Strader, Eiko. "Does a Criminal Past Predict Worker Performance? Evidence from One of America's Largest Employers." Social Forces, vol. 96 no. 3, 2018, pp. 1039-1068. Project MUSE, Using original data assembled from military administrative records, a review of 1.3 million ex-offender and non-offender enlistees who enlisted during the period 2002- 2009 finding that individuals who have been arrested for felony-level offenses have similar attrition rates to those with no criminal record.

Chief Managing Editor, UCLA Law Review, Volume 55. J.D. Candidate, UCLA School of Law, 2008; M.F.A., University of California, Irvine, 2004; B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001.55 UCLA L. Rev. 521 (2007) “Employing Ex-offender: Shifting the Evaluation of Workplace Risks and Opportunities from Employers to Corrections.”

Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, “Workplace Violence 1993-2009, pg. 6, published March 2011.” From 2005 through 2009, strangers committed about 53% of workplace violence against males and about 41% against females (table 5). Similar proportions of males and females were victims of intimate partner violence in the workplace. About a quarter (26%) of workplace violence against males and about a third against females were committed by someone with whom the victim had a work relationship.1 Among the work relationships examined, coworkers were the most likely to attack persons in the workplace. Current or former coworkers committed 16% of workplace violence against males and about 14% against females.

State of Iowa Department of Revenue, income tax benefit for Iowa employers who hire ex-offenders.

U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment, including ex-offenders.

USDOL, Federal Bond Program protects employers against losses caused by fraudulent or dishonest acts of the bonded employee

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