NCC Named as the Best Community College in the Nation for Upward Economic Mobility

Northwest Iowa Community College has been named as the Best Community College in the Nation for colleges that are most associated with upward economic mobility. In a study conducted by the Brookings Institute, Opportunity engines: Middle-Class Mobility in Higher Education, NCC ranked No.1 out of the 2-year schools from across the nation.

The Brookings Institute is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Their mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level. On their website they explain the reason for the study, “Inequality in the United States has been rising in recent decades, while intergenerational mobility remains low. This means that absolute mobility — the extent to which children are economically better off than their parents — is declining, and intergenerational inequality is increasingly entrenched.” They go on to state, “Our measure is the share of students at a college who come from the middle quintile of the parental income distribution — and move up at least one quintile in adulthood.”

Dr. Alethea Stubbe, NCC President, commented, “This is why the community college systems were developed across the United States — to provide access to an affordable and high quality education to our community members. In the end, not only do individuals benefit from this process so also do their family members, future family members, and ultimately the communities they live in. It is fundamentally providing access to the American dream — if you work hard you can benefit from that hard work to help yourself, your family, and your community thrive. Everyone wants the next generation to be more successful and this report is one indicator that NCC is helping our community members achieve just that. It’s a wonderful feeling for everyone at the College to be recognized for that contribution to our area and indeed, our state and nation.”

The researchers for The Opportunity Insights Mobility Report Cards used data for this study that built on the College Scorecard Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education. They also compiled de-identified data from tax returns, linked to information about colleges, to construct this publicly available database for colleges in the United States.

Being named the best community college in the nation most associated with upward economic mobility is due to NCC’s outstanding alumni and the success they experience following graduation. There are countless examples of upward mobility among the NCC alumni community.

Jarrett Russell, New Boston, IL a 2019 Powerline graduate, is one of numerous alumni that showcase upward mobility even as early as one year into his career.

Jarrett has never been a stranger to hard work. Raised by his grandparents, Jarrett and his sister experienced the struggles of poverty beginning at an early age. However, these struggles motivated Jarrett to work hard and set high goals for himself.

Throughout high school, Jarrett worked hard at everything he participated in, whether that was the part-time job he held, his studies or extra-curricular activities, like football. He was the smallest male on his high school football team, but his work ethic drove him to train hard to achieve his desired position on the team. Jarrett ended up being the smallest starting varsity middle linebacker in over 8 years and received the Marine’s Award for Athletic Excellence during his senior year. This is one of countless examples of his drive.

Jarrett’s work ethic followed him beyond his high school graduation. Shortly after graduating, he began working in multiple full-time jobs to assist his grandparents with bills and to save money for his and his sister’s college expenses. Jarrett had a goal that his sister would also attend college and graduate with as little debt as possible. While many of his friends were making plans to attend four-year colleges, Jarrett was preparing for the Powerline program at a community college over 10 hours from home. But the distance was worth it as he was excited to have a career where he could spend a majority of his time outdoors, earn a substantial wage and graduate with very little debt. Jarrett was accepted into the Powerline program at NCC, but due to a waitlist, he would not begin until one year after his high school graduation. Jarrett saw this extra time as a positive situation which allowed him to work, assist his family with various bills and save money for upcoming college expenses.

Since Jarrett was very conscious about money, he began to look into the scholarship opportunities available at NCC. Even though he was working and saving money, he was still worried about paying for college without going into debt. Jarrett received a few scholarships from his high school, but these would still leave him with a substantial bill. He heard about a full tuition scholarship available at NCC and, even though he doubted he would be selected, he decided to apply.

In April of 2018, a few months prior to beginning his classes at NCC, Jarrett received some surprising news… he had been selected as a full-tuition scholarship recipient! He will never forget the day he received this letter. Now much of his hard-earned money could be saved for his sister’s college expenses or go toward his family’s expenses.

During his time at NCC Jarrett worked hard, focused his efforts on his education, continued to save money and gave back to others as much as he could. Jarrett volunteered for numerous NCC Foundation tasks and activities throughout his time at NCC, including sharing his story at College events and assisting with various projects. Jarrett has a strong passion for giving back. One of his more recent goals is to be able to financially support a scholarship for less-fortunate students.

Currently, Jarrett works as an Apprentice Lineman for Watt’s Electric. Although he spends a majority of his time traveling, staying in hotels and working very hard, he loves the Powerline Industry. He is thankful to have a financially stable position that allows him to live a good life, provide financial support to his grandparents and sister and save for his future. Jarrett has come a long way since his childhood of constantly worrying about finances. Thanks to his extremely good work ethic, the support of his grandparents and the Powerline program at NCC, Jarrett is a prime example of why NCC was ranked as highest in the nation for colleges that are most associated with upward economic mobility.

Rocio Mendez, Sioux Center, IA a 2013 graduate of NCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program, is another great example of upward mobility.

Raised in Mexico, Rocio moved to Iowa later in her life. Her desire to become a Nurse began at just six years old when her father was in the hospital for an extended time. She waited to attend school until her son, who has type 1 diabetes, was old enough to take care of himself. Because English is her second language, she was very nervous to go back to school to obtain her Nursing degree and had to work extremely hard in all of her classes. Although this was a challenge for her, her family’s future was the motivation that kept her going.

Upon graduation, Rocio worked as a Medical-Surgical Nurse. She was then presented with an opportunity to work in the Diabetes Education department with the nurse that assisted her throughout her son’s diabetes care. Rocio is currently employed as a Diabetes Care & Education Specialist at Sioux Center Health and as a Bilingual Family Support Specialist at Community Health Partners, Public Office for Sioux County. Because her son has type 1 diabetes, her current positions give her the opportunity to apply her experiences while continuing to learn about various aspects of diabetes and new research findings. One of her departments’ goals is to provide culturally appropriate knowledge in diabetes education. Rocio loves that she can supply patients and families with culturally appropriate diabetes information. She also has the opportunity to put her bilingual skills to use and assist numerous families in need.

Rocio attaining her Nursing degree has caused a ripple effect for her family. Since Rocio’s graduation, her son, Jesus, has also attended and obtained a degree from NCC. Rocio’s family is a prime example of upward economic mobility caused by an education from NCC.

There are countless examples of upward economic mobility among the NCC alumni community. Obtaining an education from Northwest Iowa Community College not only benefits the individual receiving the degree, it also benefits family members and, ultimately, the communities in which they reside. NCC continues to have an impact on the upward economic mobility of individuals and families every day.

Top 5 2-Year Colleges in the U.S.A.

  1. Northwest Iowa Community College
  2. North Dakota State College of Science
  3. Lake Area Technical Institute
  4. Linn State Technical College
  5. Mitchell Technical Institute

To read the report in its entirety:

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