The Cedar Valley Fashion Art & Culture Expo is excited to announce the 8th year of cultivating diverse talent and innovation in the Cedar Valley.  Each year we take pride in creating programming focused on education, access and career readiness. We started with hosting the STEM in the Arts Urban Outreach Initiative, a collaboration with The Textile and Apparel Program at the University of Northern Iowa, Leader Valley, Infiniti Enterprises and KBOL that introduced 6th to 8th grade girls to career opportunities in STEAM.  Last year, we partnered with the University of Northern Iowa Center for Urban Education and Institute for Youth Leadership and additional youth centered organizations to host a Youth Cafe on shattering glass ceilings, overcoming stereotypes, and redefining the meaning of leadership and success. This year it’s time for an even greater impact or a SHIPHT!

The objective of SHIPHT is to activate an entrepreneurial mindset and transform career trajectory for a new and existing generation of diverse leaders – while expanding talent pipelines in the business, tech, public and entrepreneurial sector.   Additionally, SHIPHT will place an emphasis on introducing underrepresented communities to careers under Gov. Reynolds signature workforce policy initiative, the Future Ready Iowa Act. With H.F. 758, H.F. 546, and S.F. 608. The purpose of this  law is to grant more high school graduates access to greater career opportunities and high-demand jobs. 


We cannot flourish when talent remains on the sidelines, however for many, full potential often goes unfulfilled. There is a stark racial disparity when it comes to leadership in America ONLY 5 of senior executives at self-reporting Fortune 500 companies are Black, Latino, or Native.  Additionally, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin continually rank low in opportunities for minorities. As of November 2018, Waterloo Iowa was recognized as the worst place for African Americans in the United States, currently we rank the third worst. SHIPHT aims to reduce the opportunity gap and highlight the Midwest as a community where all can thrive.  


SHIPHT Entrepreneurs and industry leaders serve as mentors to assist diverse high school students with developing a business concept or product, develop their own Business Model Canvas, create a future communications plan and competitive analysis, financial model, and finally pitch the product in a shark-tank panel. Students make mistakes, take risks and learn to pivot. 

SHIPHT is fiscally sponsored by SuccessLink.