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Created In The Corridor

Created In The Corridor

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Created in the Corridor: Creative Week

Updated: Monday, December 30 2013, 08:08 AM CST
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS 2/FOX 28) - This edition of Created in the Corridor focuses on something larger than just one home-grown company. You may have heard about "Creative Week" but don't quite know what that is. It's going on right now through October 26; a Corridor-wide festival that explores, promotes and celebrates all that we create here. And you're invited to take part. 

“These are very skilled jobs, they’re very good paying jobs,” explains Roger Klouda as he describes the workforce at his Cedar Rapids manufacturing plant, MSI Mold Builders. They're creative employees who produce one-of-a-kind molds for plastic parts; parts for mammogram machines, knee replacements, ATVs and golf carts. Klouda says a two year degree at Kirkwood Community College can earn a first year employee $40,000 a year plus benefits.  Says Klouda, “I would say over 50% of the employees we have have been trained by Kirkwood.”

MSI is just one of several dozen manufacturers opening their doors this week to show the public not only the products but the incredible opportunities we create. Dee Baird, CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, wants to help spread the word. “We are having a lot of success right now particularly in terms of our job growth because of the types of companies and the diversification of our companies here,” says Baird. But she also says the Corridor's low unemployment creates something else. The challenge of attracting new workers from other parts of the country. Local economic development leaders are working hard to do that which will only lead to more success. Explains Baird,“As we attract employees, we also attract future business leaders that may want to start their own company, that may start their own company.”

And they'll find a welcoming, nurturing community exemplified by today's Innovation Expo in Coralville, an event celebrating and supporting local entrepreneurs. “I think our region now has one of the strongest entrepreneurial ecosystems in the country...probably at least in the top ten,” exclaims Curtis Nelson, founder and president of the Entrepreneurial Development Center in Cedar Rapids. He should know. Nelson's organization has helped launch eighty local businesses from scratch in the last ten years.

But Creative Week is so much more according to Amanda Styron, co-founder of Seed Here Studio and a community organizer of Creative Week. “We have well over 200 organizations that have a hand in this,” says an enthusiastic Styron. She says it's about finding your passion. It's about art and culture and everything else we create here. “I’m so excited to live in a place where people are coming together and working together to make something bigger than any one of us alone every imagined.”

To learn more about Iowa's Creative Corridor and all of the events happening as part of Creative Week, visit the News Links Section of this website. Created in the Corridor: Creative Week

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