Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been a major manufacturer of innovative technology and other precision projects for many decades. In fact, our city’s largest employer, Collins Aerospace, is responsible for many of the most important advances in the defense, aircraft, and aerospace industries, with their products ensuring the safety of millions of passengers worldwide every year. A large number of contract suppliers such as precision machine shops, fabricators, and engineering firms support the work of local manufacturers.
National employers tell us that our local workforce is 25 percent more productive than what they experience in other locations, and a strong work ethic and pride in quality work have been longstanding traditions in our part of the world. Our area’s K-12 and higher education providers have strong partnerships to continue those traditions and ensure a steady pipeline of workers with the skills local employers need. For example, the Cedar Rapids public schools have offerings that include Project Lead the Way, robotics, and STEM classes, which local higher education providers support that with career-focused training in fields such as information technology, CNC programming and machining operation, automation, and instrumentation technologies.
In addition, our location and transportation network puts us within a one-day truck trip of 72 million North American consumers. We have quick access to interstate highways, an extensive network of short line, regional, and Class I rail service, and are a short distance from river and deep-water shipping. Combined with a low cost of doing business (including low wages, and affordable land), all these factors support a strong manufacturing community.