Greater Burlington Partnership


West Burlington
West Burlington, Iowa

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Partnering for the Future III

A Five Year Strategy for Economic and Community Development

Partnering for The Future III continues to build on our success in business development, downtown redevelopment, community enhancement and visitor attraction while tackling the workforce attraction and development issues facing Greater Burlington.




Partnering for the Future III - Update October 2020

The Greater Burlington Partnership presents the PFF Update Report. This publication brings into focus where we stand on implementing the 5-Year Plan priorities.  Within you will find information highlighting initiatives completed, in progress, and underdevelopment made possible through stakeholder investments. A printed copy of this report was sent to all PFFIII Investors. To download a digital copy of this report click the link below.

Partnering for the Future III Update Download


To learn more about why you should invest in Partnering for the Future III, read the Case For Investment.  If you have any further questions, please contact our office at (319) 752-6365.  A member of our staff would be glad to answer any questions you may have.  Once you decide you are ready to invest, please fill out the Invest in the Future Pledge Card and return it to our office at 610 N. 4th Street, Suite 200, Burlington, Iowa 52601.


Case For Investment: An in-depth look at the Greater Burlington Partnership's 5 Year Plan.

Invest in the Future - Pledge Card: Invest in the growth of our community by pledging your support.


Thank you for your support in helping drive growth and helping our community thrive.


Goals of Partnering for the Future III

Initiative 1: Transforming the Talent Pipeline

Launch a series of strategies aimed at closing the gap between the available positions and talent necessary to fill them resulting in a reduction of Des Moines County's unfilled positions by 25% by 2023.


Address the Urgent Need of Filling Open Positions of Area Employers

• Immediately connect graduating high school seniors seeking work opportunities through targeted, on-site career events with employers

• Partner with local industry to establish signing day events (similar to athlete signings) for local high school students signing letters of intent to immediately enroll in a technical training program at SCC, join an apprenticeship program, or even direct hire at a local employer

• Develop and implement a tracking system and marketing program to entice local high school graduates to return and work in Greater Burlington beginning with the class of 2019

• Target military members separating from service by partnering with firms specializing in military placement and enhancing the Home Base Iowa initiative

• Extend personal invitations to graduating students each semester from Southeastern Community College and Iowa Wesleyan University to begin their careers in Greater Burlington


Build a Robust Talent Pipeline Focused On the Next Three to Five Years

• Paint the picture of the financial realities when students choose local skills training that leads to great paying local jobs in a low cost-of-living community in contrast to the burden of student loan debt associated with empty degrees with no real career opportunity

• Implement a student loan repayment pilot program in conjunction with Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation to recruit hard-to-fill positions in the private sector

• Recruit talent from smaller neighboring markets that have limited career opportunities


Did you know?

It is estimated that there are between 1,000 - 1,500 unfilled positions in the laborshed region. Filling each of those positions would generate between $35 - $53 million in annual payroll and operational inefficiencies.

• Create first class tours and events for students, parents, teachers, counselors, principals and school board members – to correct the perception of what true, modern, advanced manufacturing entails and the rewarding careers offered

• Commission a labor shed study every other year to properly identify the competitive wage scale

• Offer educators an accredited program to earn recertification credits by spending time in local

business environments


Prepare Area Youth to be our Workforce of Tomorrow

• Lead the charge to redirect scholarship resources to homegrown talent that chooses to live here, work here, and earn an education locally

• Facilitate regional career events exposing 5,000 students to available career opportunities

• Capitalize on success of local STEM festivals with a goal of reaching 7,500 students and parents through these events


Initiative 2: Economic Development

Facilitate the creation of 500 new jobs and $150 million in capital investment.


Enhance Opportunities with Existing Companies

• Convene the local plant managers group and establish a major employer roundtable to address common challenges and capitalize on opportunities to grow and succeed locally

• Conduct 25 personal visits each year with primary sector companies

• Call on an additional 75 local service and retail companies annually


Develop, Enhance, and Market Local Real Estate Assets

• Focus energy on the acquisition and development of smaller, infrastructure-ready industrial parcels

throughout our communities

• Pursue cleanup programs by the EPA/DNR for redevelopment of brownfield sites

• Aggressively market the IAAAP and BNSF certified sites as logistics and transit hubs

• Implement a dynamic marketing campaign to attract talent and business to the region with the

economic development partners in Lee and Henry Counties


Conduct Site Selector Outreach to Ensure Greater Burlington is ‘On the Map’

• Use targeted marketing campaigns and personal visits to engage with site selectors

• Every other year, engage a site selector to tour the community, evaluate its assets, and make recommendations for specific company recruitment


Diversify the Area Economy by Facilitating a Culture of Entrepreneurial Development

• Enhance the resources and coaching available to guide entrepreneurial startups

• Establish a personal mentoring program and a mastermind group to fuel the energy behind idea development, business creation, and product/service launch


Initiative 3: Community Enhancement

Lead the next generation of community visioning to propel Greater Burlington into 2030.


Drive Consumer Traffic to Greater Burlington

• Ensure the community is capturing its share of consumer discretionary spending

• Launch a multi-faceted drip marketing strategy to consumers within a 90-mile radius

• Improve the online connectivity/visibility of specialty merchants and venues


Build a Robust Pool of Endowed Assets for the Future

• Integrate the Community Foundation of Des Moines County into the Partnership structure

• Reduce the wealth transfer out of the county by utilizing the Endow Iowa Tax Credit

• Enhance the endowed fund pool from $1.5 million to $10 million by 2025


Enhance the Leadership Development Pipeline

• Expand the reach and engagement of the Young Professionals network

• Continue the strong influence of the Greater Burlington Leadership Program and its alumni

• Add specific components of civic engagement and public office to the leadership pipeline


Strengthen the Future Opportunities of Neighborhoods

• Convene a non-profit organization roundtable to ‘fill the gap’ of serving youth most in need

• Implement the Crime Task Force recommendations for neighborhood improvement

• Conduct a housing market study every five years to encourage investment and guide public policy


Take Community Branding and Messaging to a Whole New Level

• Launch a strategy aimed at online reputation management similar to efforts of the private sector

• Capitalize on the Big Muddy and Top Micropolitan Rankings to earn appropriate regional media to improve the community’s image

• Engage heavily on social media platforms using high-quality video to share the community’s story


Initiative 4: Visitor Attraction

Capitalize on new visitor trends to expand destination market share.


Tap into the One-of-a-Kind Visitor Experience Trend

• Lead efforts to create specialty visitor packages featuring hard-to-find experiences

• Develop a marketing plan and visitor package that emphasizes the area’s natural resources including the river, hunting, fishing, and all outdoor activities


Enhance the Appeal of Existing Destinations

• Conduct secret shopper programs to provide valuable feedback on visitor experiences

• Create a series of short ‘things-to-do’ videos to share on social media and engage potential visitors

• Expand the mini-grant program to fuel new activity at the arts and entertainment venues


Initiative 5: Downtown Redevelopment

Continue the transformation of downtown Burlington.


Encourage and Further Enhance the Uniqueness and Sense of Place of Downtown

• Lead in the creation and marketing of distinct districts within the urban core

• Continue appearance enhancements through plantings, blade signs and place making efforts

• Explore the possibility of a second façade grant to enhance the remaining storefronts

• Ensure brand awareness and the promotion of high-quality events


Ensure a Robust Business and Property Development Pipeline

• Continue the acquire, stabilize, and turn model for redeveloping buildings and available lots

• Collaborate with developers to layer funding streams and maximize upper story utilization


Provide Leadership and Strategic Support to Major Initiatives

• Provide guidance and direction on the implantation of the TIGER and EPA planning grants to minimize business disruption and maximize long-term curb appeal

• Further implement the parking study recommendations for long-term parking solutions

• Continually adapt as an organization to ensure relevance and stakeholder satisfaction

• Adopt best practices from cities around the nation in regard to the Main Street Four Points


Transforming The Talent Pipeline is a refocused way of looking at building the communities future workforce. Learn more about the Talent Pipeline.

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