Partnership Award

Grow Cedar Valley's Economic Inclusion Partnership Award honors employers in the Cedar Valley that have made significant achievements in championing economic inclusion and diversity in their businesses and organizations. 

The winner is announced every year at the Grow Cedar Valley Annual Celebration.  At that time, representatives from the winning organization will receive a plaque. 

2020 Economic Inclusion Partnership nominations will be available January 2020.


Economic Inclusion Partnership

The Economic Inclusion Partnership is a task force that consists of members from the Cedar Valley business community who are dedicated to discovering and realizing opportunities that promote the business case and the impact of inclusion in the Cedar Valley. The Partnership implements a variety of initiatives designed to promote economic inclusion in the workplace such as inclusion-focused publications, special events, and educational seminars.

Individuals interested in serving on the Cedar Valley Economic Inclusion Partnership must be employed by an investor/member of Grow Cedar Valley and:

  • Have an interest in economic inclusion efforts
  • Be capable of influencing their company’s policies and business efforts
  • Understand business needs relevant to recruitment and retention
  • Be committed to regular attendance at monthly meetings and Partnership events

If you meet the above criteria and would like to make an impact on economic inclusion in the Cedar Valley of Iowa, please contact us.


2018 Economic Inclusion Award Winner

UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital [video]

UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital takes an active role in the community to be an advocate of diversity and inclusion in the Cedar Valley.
UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital is the only site for Project SEARCH in the Cedar Valley. Locally, Project SEARCH is a partnership between Allen Hospital, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Waterloo Community Schools, and Inclusion Connection. This unique program gives students and young adults with disabilities valuable employment training by completely immersing them into a hospital environment and community.
Program participants experience total immersion in the workplace. For an entire academic year, students are onsite at the business each school day for a minimum of six hours. They interact with patients and other employees as would any other employee.
At the end of the year, each student is actively coached and mentored to apply and take on a job at Allen Hospital or elsewhere in the community. Last year, out of 11 interns that began the program, all 11 were employed, four of them with UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital.
Not only does Project SEARCH allow for career exploration, it also builds awareness of the staff and community that individuals with disabilities can be equally contributing members of society.
Additionally, the health care facility is analyzing its customer/patient ethnicity base. Based on that information, UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital is reaching out to associations and specialty groups to offer job opportunities to individuals who will create a more diverse employee group who can more closely meet specific needs of a more diverse customer/patient base.
Sponsored by Hy-Vee

Past Award Winners

(Prior to 2018, the award was named Diversity & Inclusion Partnership Award.)



UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital

The Sayer Law Group, P.C.

CUNA Mutual Group



ManpowerGroup, Inc.

Waterloo Schools



Cadillac Lanes

Hawkeye Community College



Allen College – Unity Point Health

Veridian Credit Union



Em’s Coffee Co.

Wartburg College

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – Iowa 

Application Process

Each year, the Cedar Valley Economic Inclusion Partnership oversee the selection and presentation of the Cedar Valley Economic Inclusion Award. Applicants are evaluated and finalists are visited by the committee before convening for a final vote to name the award winners.

  • To qualify for the Economic Inclusion Partnership Award, the business or organization must be an investor of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.
  • Awards may be given in the following categories: small (1-50 employees), medium (51+ employees). The determination regarding the categories to be awarded will be based on the quality and number of applications received in each category.
  • Previous award recipients are not eligible to apply for one year following receipt of the award. 

Application for each year's award(s) is made available each fall. 

  • Phase One: Award Nomination applications may be filled out by a representative from the nominated organization or an organization may be nominated by a third party.  The nomination form is available above.  The  application will provide a high-level overview of the diversity and inclusion work the nominated organization has done.  After review by the Economic Inclusion Partnership, the nominated company will be contacted to complete Phase Two of the application.
  • Phase Two: After all information is gathered from the top organizations the panel of judges will select the top three organizations and site visits will be conducted.  During the site visits, the judges will conduct interviews with staff, tour facilities and evaluate the organization on how inclusive the environment is.