Friday, February 28, 2014

2013 BCEDC Annual Report: Nurturing a #NewEra

Instilling Opportunities from economic developments efforts in 2012 led Buchanan County Economic Development to steward the cultivating efforts for growth opportunities in Buchanan County and the Cedar Valley Region. For 2013 the key efforts in Buchanan County and the Cedar Valley had great opportunity 
for growth with advances relating to educating the current and future workforce. This was seen primarily with the opening of the new Independence Junior/ Senior High School and expansion of school facilities in Jesup. Local school districts explored and implemented efforts to better connect students with local business 
leaders and the cultivation of 21st Century/ Soft Skills into their curriculum efforts. Skilled Iowa efforts have also taken hold in Buchanan County as one of the leaders in the region when it comes to member businesses supporting the statewide effort. On a political level changes took place on local boards of education, 
and most pounced was great change in elected city leadership across the county, especially in Independence. 

A new era was nurtured in 2013 that should ignite more growth in 2014. A monumental collaborative effort to bring Community Main Street to the county seat created great momentum to reignite the downtown district in Independence. Jesup also moved forward in the construction of an assisted living complex that 
should open up single family homes that will nurture growth in that community. While a family owned company in Winthrop purchased the closed plastics plant and reinvested in the facility to offer much needed warehouse and office space to the county area. The BCEDC also strengthened collaborative partnerships 
in the Cedar Valley Region and created new ones with other neighboring communities on US Highway 20. The joint efforts inside OFFICE 112 grew over the last year with combined efforts in business and community promotion. 

Nurturing a #NewEra in Buchanan County had its challenges, however team work and cooperation played important roles to lead the community into a progressive time in Buchanan County
and the Cedar Valley Region.

Read the full annual report

Monday, October 28, 2013

Clayberg Honored on Courier's 20 Under 40 List for 2013

Buchanan County Economic Development Director Nate Clayberg was one of 20 young professionals in the Cedar Valley featured in the November 2013 issue of the Cedar Valley Business Monthly.  This month's issue honors the 20 young community leaders in the Cedar Valley for the Courier Newspaper's 20 Under 40 list for 2013.

Download the Jim Offner article about Clayberg's profile.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Modern Economic Development Challenge: Bailing Boomers

This article was published in the 2013 Independence Bulletin Journal Progress Issue, September 1013

Over the last few years, as we have come out of the Great Recession, politicians and the media have said that the answer to aid economic recovery is Job Creation.  Higher unemployment and slow business and consumer spending fuel this theory. Buchanan County as a whole has come through this period very well compared to other parts of the state and country.

The unemployment rate for Buchanan County in July 2013 was down to 4.5% (Cedar Valley 4.7%, Iowa 4.8%, US 7.4%) compared to 4.7% in July 2012 (Cedar Valley 5.3%, Iowa 5.1%, US 8.2%). We have seen “job creation” take effect in our county with local manufacturers, healthcare organizations, plus service and retail businesses adding to their staffs.  Local and regional companies are continually looking to hire more employees, and effort has helped drop this number that is watched closely by politicians and Wall Street.  However, we have also seen some layoffs and business closings in our region from some larger employers as well. These reductions however have been seen as a positive for Cedar Valley employers eager to hire skilled workers for their companies.

The unemployment statistics show that there is improvement in employment over the last year, but those numbers do not tell the entire story. A portion of the drop in unemployment has been caused by individuals no longer seeking employment.  These are people that lose unemployment benefits and are no longer seeking a job, but this group of people also includes workers leaving their jobs for retirement.

Our country is about two years into the beginning of the era of 78-million of our skilled workers leaving for life after 40+ years of working.  To use a term from economic development author Mark Lautman, “the Boomers are Bailing.”  The Baby Boom generation, workers that were born between 1946 and 1964, have or are seeing retirement on the horizon and are making arrangements to sail off in the sunset, and for the next 16+ years we will see that generation make a steady path towards the point in their life were they can cash in on their pensions, 401k and Social Security Benefits.  That is if they planned effectively enough financially.

This problem will be slowed as we see retirees working well past 65 for various reasons, and the influx of immigrant labor coming into our labor force.  But the higher skilled positions held by Baby Boomers will be challenging to fill as the pool of skilled labor is projected to deteriorate in the future. In many cases it already has.
Source: When the Boomers Bail (Mark Lautman)

I do not want to paint the picture of the sky falling in our economy since the Bulletin Journal’s annual progress issue is an opportunity to promote the growth of business in the Independence area, and there are certainly a number of projects that will help grow our county seat.  We have seen expansion projects completed at Geater Machining and Manufacturing and Wapsie Valley Creamery, enhancements to a number of local retail buildings and the completion of the new Independence Junior/ Senior High School. This new building is by far the greatest economic development retention and attraction asset created by this community in many years. 

Not only are the new school facilities in Independence state of the art, but the curriculum that is being designed for that new facility will be a great tool in giving our local community the answer to “What will the Independence community do when the Boomers Bail?”  To help solve the problem of having a declining labor pool in a steady (or growing) population, local schools and colleges will play heavy into having a solution to this problem over the next decade.  The new school building will attract new families to live in the district, and the efforts of the school administration will enhance that attraction with quality education that will create the next generation of workers. These will need to be workers that will come out their education in high school and college ready to fill jobs vacated by the Boomers in our local economy. Another challenge will be to attract those new workers to stay or come back to Buchanan County and the Cedar Valley to work or start a business.

So what can you do to help this problem?

It’s a little too late, and inappropriate,  to ask everyone to have more children to help fill the gap since those children that are currently in pre-school will be the ones looking to replace the “late” boomers that are right now pushing 50 years of age.  This is how far that gap will be in the next 15-17 years. 

The labor gap was created by parents of the Boomers, and now it needs to be remedied by those Boomers and their adult children (Gen Xers) to support enhanced soft skill development.  The skills that are needed in a quality work ethic.  The skills of motivation, dependability, communication, time management, teamwork, trustworthiness and leadership are very important in developing workers to fill the jobs in all industries that are coming open and will grow in the future.  Some of these skills can be nurtured in our schools, but they originate in the home with families nurturing the future success of their children as contributing members of society.
Source: When the Boomers Bail (Mark Lautman)

So bottom line, inspire young people to educate themselves for quality jobs. Encourage those that are able to work, but aren’t, to get back in the labor force or seek education that makes that possible.  And if you are a grandparent, or parent, that would love to see your family members that live far from the Cedar Valley come back home to live, work and play – tell them about the companies that are hiring in our region and show them the progress that is taking place in this community to grow a quality of life in Cedar Valley Region of Iowa. 

Visit these websites for more information:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Clayberg Graduates from Economic Development Institute

Nate Clayberg Graduates from OU EDI

Nate Clayberg, Executive Director for Buchanan County Economic Development, recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute on March 14, 2013 at the OU/EDI spring session held in Norman, Oklahoma.  
Nate Clayberg 100 WideOU/EDI is an intensive week long, three-tier program, which provides a broad spectrum of advanced education for the economic development professional.
OU/EDI Dean LaDene Bowen said, "As the premier organization dedicated to training economic development professionals, I am very pleased with this year's graduates. They represent some of the finest economic development practitioners in the U.S. working to support their local communities. My congratulations to them." 
OU/EDI classes focus on three major core areasincluding: Business Retention and Expansion,
Grow Buchanan LogoReal Estate, and Finance, as well as areas of concentration in Marketing, Strategic Planning, Entrepreneurship, and Managing Economic Development Organizations. Students complete 117 hours of instruction with curriculum selected from more than fifty seminars, workshops and discussion groups.
Commencing in 1962, OU EDI is celebrating its 51st year of service to the professional economic development community. Fully accredited by the International Economic Development Council, the program has trained over 3,500 graduates and remains the world's leading economic development teacher. 
Clayberg will next pursue his professional certification in economic development from the International Economic Development Council. To contact Buchanan County Economic Development call 319-334-7497, email or visit to see how your local economic development organization can assist your business. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2012 BCEDc Annual Report: Instilling Opportunities
The economy of Buchanan County, Iowa continues to grow from the Great Recession of a just a few years ago with higher employment, retail sales and taxable valuations. Buchanan County Economic Development, is proud to see the incremental growth in key data figures, but also has enjoyed working with the local companies like Geater Machining and Manufacturing, Wapsie Valley Creamery, L&M Radiator and Flint Hills Resources, as they continue to grow their operations in Buchanan County in 2012.

In 2011 the BCEDc took direction to Align for Growth of the Future of Buchanan County in the Cedar Valley Region by building relationships with key stakeholders in order to identify local and regional essentials to help promote economic growth. In 2012, the efforts of this organization took the next step to instill concepts that will look to develop roots for opportunities in 2013. Buchanan County Economic Development spent considerable time this past year examining and nurturing the infrastructure that is necessary for seeding growth in any community. Areas of work included Organizational Strategy, Sustained Local and Regional Collaboration, Workforce Development and Attraction, Small Business Development and Finance, Property Redevelopment and the Formation of Industrial and Commercial Development Concepts.

The BCEDc will again evaluate its objectives based on the work they can control, the impact their work is intended to achieve and how the innovations and leadership they display in their communities influences change in Buchanan County and the Cedar Valley Region. To Instill Opportunities for the county and region they will continue to strengthen their relationships in the communities as well as the collaborative Partnerships with Office 112 and the Cedar Valley Regional Partnerships.

See the full 2012 Annual Report for Buchanan County Economic Development

Monday, September 10, 2012

Buchanan County Job Fair: Thurs. Sept. 13, 2012

Buchanan County Economic Development, with partnership from Sedona Staffing's Independence office, will be hosting the 2012 Fall Buchanan County Job Fair on Thursday, September 13 from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Henderson Events Center at 2320 Iowa Avenue in Independence, Iowa.
This event is free to all potential employment applicants.  Job opportunities include, but are not limited to: 
  • Full Time, Part Time, To Hire, Temporary, Direct Hires
  • 1st, 2nd, & 3rd shifts available, 8-12 hours shifts
  • Machinist
  • CNC Operators
  • Production
  • Industrial Painters
  • Assemblers
  • Engineers
  • HR Generalist
  • Fabricators
  • Clerical / Administrative
  • Maintenance
  • Warehouse
  • …. and MANY more!
  • A variety of industries will be represented (Industrial, Manufacturing, Clerical, Professional)
What to expect: Speak one-on-one with local Buchanan County employers to discuss your potential next career path and opportunity. If possible, please bring a copy of resume & two forms of I.D. (Driver’s licenses ID & Social Security Card are the most commonly ones used.)
Event sponsored by Sedona Staffing Services – Independence (319.332.1070)
Buchanan County Economic Development (319.334-7497)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Start Living Like The Main Character In Your Life Story - Rich Gee

Success takes initiative. This is a great blog entry about taking responsibility for your future like its the story of your life. In the current economic conditions, you are more likely to succeed in whatever you do if you take responsibility, not wait for someone else to help.

Read more