Cedar Rapids is proud to be an inclusive community. Through diversity and inclusion, we create a community that is vibrant and flourishes. The creativity that comes from engaging with people from different backgrounds and experiences benefits everyone. The City of Cedar Rapids embraces the differences in all our residents and works to build a community where everyone feels they belong.
Read about many initiatives and programs within the City that are building and expanding opportunities for everyone in our Inclusive Community issue of the Our CR magazine.
Welcoming Week in CR
Cedar Rapids is proud to celebrate Welcoming Week each September to acknowledge the many important contributions immigrants and refugees bring to our community. Our community’s success depends on making sure that all residents feel welcome. New residents are a vital part of our community — bringing fresh perspectives and new ideas, starting businesses, and contributing to the vibrant diversity that we all value.
Our community’s participation in Welcoming Week shows that in Cedar Rapids, citizens of all backgrounds can come together to create a stronger, more prosperous community. Welcoming Week is one of many initiatives Cedar Rapids supports in order to create and promote an inclusive community. Visit the Cedar Rapids Tourism events calendar and select “Welcome Week” to see a full list of community activities happening each September and to add your events.
Welcoming Week is a national recognition of immigrants and refugees, and the role communities play to foster greater welcome for everyone. For more information about Welcoming Week, visit: https://www.welcomingamerica.org/programs/welcoming-week
Diversity in the Workplace
"Diversity is an integral part of the City of Cedar Rapids’ organizational objectives. Recruiting and retaining a diverse, inclusive group of employees creates a City organization that reflect the world around us, and makes our team better able to develop fresh ideas that will meet the needs of the entire community. Diversity drives innovation, increases creativity, helps to retain quality employees, and allows us to serve our residents in the most effective way possible. Increasing workforce diversity isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. Cedar Rapids is a more vibrant, inviting community when we embrace the many qualities that make us different."
Cedar Rapids City Manager
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Programs and Initiatives at the City of Cedar Rapids
• Modifications of City facilities and sites to be ADA accessible and allow people of all abilities to access participate in services and programs offered to citizens.
• Installation of ADA compliant curb ramps throughout the City so citizens can travel freely and safely at intersections throughout the City.
• Affordable Housing Commission helps City staff identify the nature and scope of housing needs of low and moderate-income residents as well as recommend to the City Council effective strategies on collaborating to meet those needs.
• Fully Involved Young Women’s Fire Academy was designed to introduce young women to the fire service, and to empower, inspire, and support strong women leaders.
• The City has partnered with Foundation 2 to employ a Law Enforcement Liaison to help connect those experiencing mental health issues to appropriate resources rather than incarceration.
• The City was selected to receive the “Gateways for Growth” award from the New American Economy and Welcoming America. This will help City leaders develop strategies to integrate immigrants, foster economic growth and promote inclusion for all residents.
• Mayor’s Youth Council provides students with an opportunity to share their opinions and ideas; learn about the role of council, boards, and commissions; and make a difference in the community.
• The City implemented "Ban the Box" to help provide more opportunities for citizens and ensure fair and unbiased hiring practices. The Ban the Box campaign challenges employers to choose the best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions.
• Created a Social Equity Impact Assessment tool to assist departments in the examination of the impact that current and future policies, programs, and services have on underserved populations.
• The Purchasing division has streamlined the process for Targeted Small Business (TSB), businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities, preference process by utilizing the state TSB list and eliminating the requirement for TSBs to register on the SAMS website.
• Amended the Section 8 administrative plan by reducing the timeframe from 5 to 3 years for denial of assistance for a felony conviction or eviction from federally funded housing.
• Developed partnerships with area organizations serving at-risk youth to provide sports fields and parks space.
• Created a team to research programs and community partnerships that will help improve the façade of vacant structures in vulnerable areas in the city.
• Revised Transit half fare program and “Blue Ticket” program by offering half-fare day passes and certifying more human service agencies to self-certify their clients for income-based discounts.
• Transit is collaborating with the Cedar Rapids Community School District and area colleges in a subsidized student program. Under this program, students will not have to pay to ride the city bus.
• Utilities department has created a program and is partnering with HACAP to correct plumbing issues to reduce monthly utility bills for low-income customers.
Community resources and information:
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)