A chart showing the five core SEL skills measured by ACT's Tessera platform. CREDIT ICR IOWA 
ICR Iowa, the ICR Future Coalition and ACT have announced the launch of a new pilot program focused on strengthening social and emotional learning in the region's K-12 schools.
According to the group, social and emotional learning (SEL) skills and character strengths play a key role in success in school and life, but they are not assessed in a reliable or valid way, giving teachers little information on which to base interventions.
Through the pilot program, school districts served by the Grant Wood Area Education Agency will be invited to use ACT's Tessera platform, which is used to teach and measure five core SEL skills, over a three-year period with students beginning third, fifth and/or ninth grade this fall. Participating students will take the Tessera assessment in the fall and spring of each school year to see how the use of an assessment, curriculum and intervention can strengthen SEL skills.
"Employers have been expressing their need for employees with strong soft skills for decades," said Jennifer Daly, president and CEO of ICR Iowa, in a release. "We are excited to be taking a significant step forward in developing and strengthening those social emotional learning skills within our future workforce with the support and partnership of ACT."
Pilot schools will receive special training on the platform and work with ACT on reviewing data. Parents of students who are taking part in the pilot will receive a Tessera report card indicating their student's assessment on the five core SEL skills over the three-year pilot period.
There is a $5 per student per year cost to participate in the Tessera pilot. This reflects a 50% discount in the cost of Tessera for non-pilot sites. However, schools that choose the elementary school pilot won't have any cost for their first pilot year.
Regional economic development partners see the pilot as a way to help the region grow in future years, with Ms. Daly saying a region-wide implementation of Tessera could "eventually become a game-changer for ICR."
"Being able to offer students a high-quality education that emphasizes both academic and SEL skill development may attract young families who want the very best education for their children," she added. "A workforce with strong soft skills will almost certainly provide a significant advantage for our existing employers and may also attract new employers eager to take advantage of the talent in our region."
Schools that are interested in learning more about the pilot should contact Ms. Daly at [email protected].
The ICR Future Coalition is a group of educators, employers and organizations working together to develop the future workforce in the Corridor. It is part of ICR Iowa, a joint venture between the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and the Iowa City Area Development Group.
Para3Collins developing digital night vision system for military
The new Enhanced Visual Acuity is a digital day/night vision solution that will integrate a helmet-mounted binocular display. CREDIT COLLINS 
A new system under development by Collins Aerospace will help U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircrews transition from analog to cutting-edge digital vision systems that increase flight safety and mission effectiveness.
The Enhanced Visual Acuity (EVA) system is a digital day/night vision solution that will integrate a helmet-mounted binocular display providing wider, higher-resolution imagery and improved night vision performance at very low light levels. A new design will minimize head-borne weight to reduce pilot fatigue and increase comfort and safety.
"Digital night vision is a big step forward in providing enhanced situational awareness to the warfighter, and is a foundation we'll continually build on to ensure mission success," said Dave Schreck, vice president and general manager for Military Avionics and Helicopters at Collins Aerospace, in a release. "Collins Aerospace is proud to deliver the capability provided by EVA as it will be a significant force multiplier for rotary-wing and tiltrotor aircrews."
Work on the new developmental contract is taking place at Collins Aerospace facilities in Iowa, California and Massachusetts, and will be completed by March 2023. Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., has Corridor locations in Cedar Rapids and Coralville.
High-speed internet access will be provided to every West Des Moines residence and business through an ambitious plan unveiled today by city officials and Google Fiber, a provider of fiber optic broadband internet service, the Des Moines Business Record reports.
Under a development agreement expected to be approved Monday by the city council, West Des Moines will install conduit throughout the city, including to houses, apartments and businesses. Google Fiber will install the fiber optics enabling high-speed internet access to be provided to all of the city's residents and businesses. The city infrastructure project will also allow other internet service providers to lease space in the conduit laid by West Des Moines.
The cost of installing the conduit is estimated to be between $35-$40 million. The conduit system will have the ability to generate revenue from license agreements for use of the system. Google Fiber will be the first tenant to lease space in the network and is expected to sign a 20-year licensing agreement with the city, city officials said.
West Des Moines' portion of the project will be paid for by issuing taxable general obligation bonds. Because of the city's top credit rating, it will be able to finance the project with lower-than-average interest rates, city officials said. Officials emphasized that property taxes would not be increased to pay for the project.
"We took the position that high-speed internet access is as important to our residents and our businesses as being able to flush a toilet or turn on the faucet and have water come out," West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer said.
The past four months have shined a bright spotlight on the disparities in broadband service, not just between urban and rural communities but also between neighborhoods. When COVID-19 sent millions of Americans to their homes to work, learn, play, shop and receive medical attention, many found inadequate internet speeds. Those without internet access couldn't go to public places like libraries to complete school assignments or work.
West Des Moines' plan would not only end disparities in internet access within the city but through its partnership with Google Fiber, internet speeds would also be faster, officials said.
Providing households and businesses in existing areas and new developments with high-speed internet access will also help attract new residents and businesses to West Des Moines and keep current ones, city officials said.
Read the full story at businessrecord.com.
BIn the CBJ: New packaging plant creates possibilities for Goodwill
Plant Director Jon Olson leads visitors on a tour of Goodwill of the Heartland's new state-of-the-art vegetable oil packaging plant in Coralville. PHOTO KATHARINE CARLON
An organization best known to the public for its retail thrift shops has opened a new vegetable oil packaging plant in Coralville, bringing the seven-year dream of one of its top local leaders to fruition and creating jobs for individuals with disabilities - all while helping to serve the world's hungry.
Goodwill of the Heartland was expected to receive final approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week to begin vegetable oil packaging operations in the 63,000-square-foot facility at 3800 Second St. in Coralville. The facility, which will start with a single shift and 10 full-time employees, is expected to eventually grow to three shifts and as many as 40 employees.
Jessica Schamberger, Goodwill of the Heartland's vice president of operations, hopes it will also grow from servicing a single government agency - the USDA - to serving a diverse mix of private label and government clients.
"I don't want to call it limitless potential, but there's just so much potential," Ms. Schamberger said of the vegetable oil contract she first began pursuing in 2013 through the federal set-aside program AbilityOne, which helps nonprofits create jobs for people with significant disabilities.
Though the organization was unsuccessful in its first bid, it reapplied in 2017 and was ultimately selected for a major contract to package oil for the USDA's international and domestic food aid program. The contract for 10,000-14,000 metric tons of oil packaged in four-liter cans has a value of around $18 million annually.
Read the full members-only story in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ. 
AEdge colocation data center opens in North Liberty
DartPoints has opened a new edge colocation data center in North Liberty that will improve access to web-delivered content via statewide broadband provider Aureon, municipalities and other local, municipal and regional telecommunication providers.
The facility was developed by Dallas-based DartPoints in cooperation with South Slope Cooperative Communications.
The edge colocation data center represents a $1-million-plus investment in Iowa, and is scalable to meet what are expected to be growing needs for data hosting closer to users, DartPoints Chief Development Officer Loren Long told the CBJ. He said bringing the apps and data closer to users in Iowa will help bridge the "digital divide" between rural communities and large tier one markets where most data centers are located, by addressing quality issues and carriage charges associated with moving data over long distances and multiple networks.
The timing of the opening is excellent, Mr. Long added, as businesses and organizations rely heavily on accessing web apps, and schools will rely more on apps for distance learning on the web during the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Slope CEO Chuck Deisbeck called the opening "an important development for our communities, offering them an opportunity to achieve the same access, performance and network capabilities that adjacent markets receive today," in a release.
The edge colocation data center is the first in Iowa for DartPoints. South Slope, Aureon and DartPoints are members of the Iowa Communications Alliance, which represents more than 120 community based telecommunications providers serving rural communities.
Dave Duncan, the group's CEO, and Scott Behn, Aureon CEO, praised the cooperative efforts, saying it will benefit all of the association's members and the state as a whole.
"This could not have come at a better time," Mr. Behn said.
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stockCorridor Stocks

AEGON AEG 3.09 -0.10 -3.13%
Alliant Energy LNT 48.47 -0.53 -1.08%
Casey's General Stores CASY 149.97 -0.96 -0.64%
Danaher Corp. DHR 182.04 -0.96 -0.52%
Deere & Company DE 158.70 -1.52 -0.95%
Dow Jones ^DJI 25,890.18 -396.85 -1.51%
General Mills GIS 62.98 0.79 1.27%
GoDaddy GDDY 69.74 -0.83 -1.18%
Great Western Bank GWB 13.03 -0.41 -3.05%
Heartland Express HTLD 21.00 0.24 1.16%
Marsh & McLennan MMC 107.35 -0.57 -0.53%
MidWestOne MOFG 18.50 -0.68 -3.55%
Pearson PSO 7.16 -0.04 -0.56%
Pepsico PEP 133.57 0.27 0.20%
Principal Financial PFG 41.01 -1.25 -2.96%
QCR Holdings QCRH 28.70 -0.71 -2.41%
Raytheon Technologies RTX 61.01 -2.31 -3.65%
S&P 500 ^GSPC 3,145.32 -34.40 -1.08%
Procter & Gamble PG 122.22 0.59 0.49%
United Fire Group UFCS 25.62 -1.01 -3.79%
U.S. Bank USB 35.58 -1.25 -3.39%
Wells Fargo WFC 24.46 -1.03 -4.04%
West Bank WTBA 16.31 -0.64 -3.78%
Whirlpool WHR 133.66 0.19 0.14%
Short-Term Event Planner
July 8-9
2020 Nonprofit Training Days, by Association for Talent Development-Hawkeye Chapter, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., online. Event includes a keynote address by speaker and author Patti Seda and breakout sessions focusing on skills and strategies to apply in your professional or volunteer positions. Cost: $25. To register, visit bit.ly/2YK71dO.
July 9 
Wake Up Marion, by Marion Chamber of Commerce, 8-9 a.m., D-BAT Marion, 1783 Red Fox Way. Get to know the D-BAT Marion team while talking with other Marion Chamber members. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/3dsUvn2
Understanding Remote Workers, by Project Management Institute - Eastern Iowa, noon, online. This program on remote workers will be led by Douglas Williams. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/2YG9vIX
July 10 
Breakfast Smart Series: Cybersecurity for Small Businesses,
by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, 9 a.m., online. Join a conversation with cybersecurity experts about threats to small businesses, prevention, regulations and how to respond during an attack. Free. For more information, visit bit.ly/2BMbXGw.
Headlines from KCRG-TV9  
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Tuesday the state is allocating more than $50 million in CARES funding to Iowa's mental health systems. Thirty million dollars will be directed to mental health regions to support ongoing adult and children's mental health services and to help cover the increased needs that have resulted from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Twenty million dollars will go to mental health and substance abuse providers to cover increased cost during the pandemic. This is in addition to the nearly $1 million from FEMA that went to the Department of Human Services for crisis counseling services.

Law enforcement officials in Cedar Falls are investigating following a report of an armed robbery on Monday. At around 8:45 p.m., the Cedar Falls Police Department sent officers to a report of an incident at College Square Mall. According to officers, the victim said he was waiting at the mall to meet with a person and was approached by two suspects. The victim said that they demanded money and other items while displaying a handgun and a knife. The suspects took the victim's cash and left in a vehicle. No other description of the suspects or vehicle were available.
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9 
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Today will be the same as the past few days with a mostly sunny sky and humid highs in the upper 80s to lower 90s. An isolated shower or storm can't be ruled out, but they'll be pretty sparse if they do develop. Wednesday looks like the hottest day of the week as highs creep into the lower 90s. Thursday brings the best chance of rain, but even that looks like it'll probably be scattered. A lingering shower or storm is possible Friday. Highs drop to the middle 80s this weekend.