Leaders in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area are the first in the state to pursue what’s being called a Skilled Iowa Community designation. Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development, says the idea is to show proof the Cedar Valley is striving to provide talented applicants to fill current and future jobs.

Wahlert says one way to do that is by getting National Career Readiness certification. “We want to have as many member businesses in this initiative as we can possibly have and what that means is its a commitment on behalf of businesses to have a preferred interest in people who have certification,” she says.

The goal is to eventually have 20-percent of the area businesses either hiring certified workers or recommending the assessment. Wahlert says the initiative will be monitored through the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance. “It also has a great cross section of people working really hard on this such as educators, business folks and people interested in upskilling their jobs,” she says.

“This organization has really pulled together what I think is a great and unique strategy.” Wahlert says employers who are part of this program can evaluate job candidates more efficiently which in turn reduces turnover and training costs