ICCC launches area manufacturing academy for high schoolers

Friday, May 11, 2018

LAURENS - Iowa Central is moving forward with plans to establish a Manufacturing Training Hub in Laurens to serve area high schools. The college estimates that it will invest up to $750,000 in this career academy, in hopes of convincing interested students to stay in Iowa and their home communities to fill quality jobs offered by companies in the region.

“With the development of this Manufacturing Training Hub, the goals relate to creating interest within our area high schools in the career opportunities within the manufacturing industry, offering post-secondary educational opportunities that are currently not available to students enrolled in our area high schools, and creating a trained workforce for area companies that are in need of filling current needs or expanding their current operations,” ICCC President Dan Kinney said.

“The college will also provide access to the facility for industrial training for area businesses and workers to help them keep up with changing technology and equipment operations.”

Funds made possible by the recent bond election will be used to purchase equipment for a career academy and help upgrade the facility. The Hub will be operated by Iowa Central.

The equipment will be used to train students so they have the skills necessary to enter the workforce, benefitting small and emerging businesses. “This will help our K-12 partners expose middle and high school students to the great jobs and careers available in Laurens and surrounding communities and provide them with the skills needed to continue into technical and other careers with outstanding pay,” according to Dean of Business and Industrial Technology, Neale Adams.

Scott Williamson, Superintendent of Laurens-Marathon and Sioux Central adds, “The project stems from the needs of both the secondary school districts and the companies that employ individuals in the manufacturing industry. With declining school populations, schools are looking at ways of leveraging partnerships to offer broad educational opportunities for all of their students. One way that has proven successful in providing a quality Career and Technical Education is to partner with other area high schools and community colleges to have a centralized location of education. This gives students from multiple school districts the opportunity and equitable access to education that specialized in nature. “

Once the Manufacturing Hub is set up and operational, school districts will be able to share both the cost and the instruction, as well as offer a more diverse offering of courses and programs, without the large financial burden that comes with equipment, safety, and instruction of these programs.

“By offering these programs to secondary students, this will also enhance the exposure of these students to the career opportunities through education, job shadowing, industry field trips, and other workplace intermediary opportunities,” says Tom Grau, Director of Pocahontas County Economic Development Commission.

“Through this exposure and educational training, the hope is that more young individuals will stay, work and live in the communities that they grew up in and provide a sustainable workforce for the companies that support the local community. This will enhance growth and development of small and emerging businesses who have been restricted due to the lack of skilled workers in the area.”

Iowa Central is working to complete the more detailed plans for using the entire $25.5 million proceeds from the bond issue.

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