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CR downtown photo – courtesy of Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

Community spotlight: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, the second largest city in Iowa, is known as the “City of Five Seasons.” The fifth season affords residents and visitors time to enjoy all other seasons and life.  

As one of the largest corn-processing cities in the world, it makes sense that Cedar Rapids is also one of the leading bio-processing and food ingredient centers in North America. Located within a day’s drive of 72 million consumers, Cedar Rapids is home to many recognizable brands including Fortune 500 companies. Major employers include Collins Aerospace, TransAmerica, Nordstrom, Quaker Oats, General Mills, Geico, ADM, Cargill, Ingredion, Kraft Heinz, International Paper and more.  

Cedar Rapids is a long-established business hub with plenty of room to grow including the Big Cedar Industrial Center and South 33rd Avenue Industrial Park, which offer more than 1,400 acres of development-ready land with utilities and infrastructure already in place. 

Cedar Rapids is an excellent location for growing industries, including: 

  • Food processing and bioprocessing.
  • Life sciences.
  • Logistics and distribution.
  • Manufacturing. 

Community resources 
Cedar Rapids has a consistent record of economic growth. In 2019 alone, the Cedar Rapids metro area saw 35 economic development projects that include $588.5 million in capital investment. The community has rich resources and an abundance of talent ideal for companies in food processing and production, as well as allied fields in the bio-agriculture sector. 

Beyond industry, SmartAsset ranked Cedar Rapids the #1 best place in America for children five years in a row! (2015 - 2019) and it remains in the top three for 2020. 

The Eastern Iowa Airport offers nonstop major carrier service to key business cities across the nation and serves as a major air cargo hub and foreign trade zone that handles more than 20,000 tons of cargo each year. With an 8,600-foot runway, the airport accommodates cargo jets and has a fixed-base operator equipped to handle the largest corporate jets. 

When looking at a U.S. map, you’ll find Cedar Rapids close to the center. Within a one-hour drive, there are more than 788,000 workers, many with the skill sets and educational attainment needed for today’s technical, creative, and research jobs. Local workers have long been known for being highly educated, hard-working and productive thanks in no small part to the longstanding work ethic woven into the fabric of eastern Iowa. In fact, national companies with operations here have said that our workforce is as much as 25% more productive than comparable workers in other cities. 

Incentives and economic development resources 
Local leaders work closely with Linn County and the state of Iowa to streamline processes and permitting and to create incentive programs that reward companies for making investments.  

Depending upon a company’s specific needs and plans, available programs include small business assistance, EB-5, tax increment financing, workforce training programs, redevelopment tax credits, innovation funding, corporate tax credits, research activities credits, and other business incentives. State programs such as the Iowa Apprenticeship Program and the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program also help companies prepare workers to meet their needs.  

Want to learn more about Cedar Rapids’ business environment? 
Contact, senior business attraction manager, or visit 

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