Attracting and Retaining a Quality Workforce in Cedar Rapids

Academic Year 
2013-2014
College/Department 
Urban & Regional Planning
Project Partner 

The City of Cedar Rapids had recently hired their first city staff member dedicated to economic development. The Economic Development Liaison position provides the City with the opportunity to evaluate the economic development climate and target key areas of improvement for the community. One significant concern that faced Cedar Rapids employers and community leaders was the struggle to both attract and retain a quality workforce. Anecdotally, leaders believed this was because of a lack of quality housing, minimal nightlife, and a lack of shopping and other amenities.

This project evaluated the workforce of Cedar Rapids and determined the gap between supply and demand for quality workers. Students sought to understand the reasons for both attracting and retaining new workers by holding focus groups and collecting data. A particular focus of the project was attracting and retaining young professionals (workers under 40). Students surveyed other cities with a strong, young, professional workforce to propose steps that Cedar Rapids could take to become a more attractive place for young professionals to live.