On Friday, November 12, Northwest Iowa Community College along with Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA), and the Iowa Department of Education hosted an Industrial Tech Summit for Northwest Iowa Career and Technical Education (CTE) secondary teachers.
This event was developed to help establish stronger partnerships between local high school industrial tech teachers, NCC CTE instructors, and area business and industry leaders. The day was spent networking and attending technology break-out sessions with College instructors, secondary teachers, and area industry representatives.
Matt Hansen, CTE Instructor from Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn-Remsen-Union (MMCRU), was a part of the summit planning team and said, “The idea behind a day like this was to get high school CTE instructors, NCC CTE instructors, and industry leaders in the same room to talk about what everyone’s needs are from their perspectives. Industry is in dire need of skilled labor. Both the college and high school teachers need to understand and work together to develop skills that local industries need in an employee. As a high school teacher, I can then bring those ideas to my classroom by designing curriculum to fit both what the college would like to see in an incoming student and what industry needs for a skilled workforce.” Hansen continued, “It was also cool to see everyone working and learning together. The breakout sessions were great and it was fun seeing all the new technology in action that the College has.”
Four technology breakout sessions were held throughout the day. Sessions included topics such as: construction, CNC machining, welding, robotics/automation, 3-D solid works/laser engraving, electrical, automotive, and diesel.
Guest Speakers were David Landon, Manager of Welding Engineering at Vermeer Corporation, Pella, IA, and current President of the International Institute of Welding and Mona Yanacheak, Northwest AEA CTE consultant.
Yanacheak was really happy with the day. She said this was a great opportunity for our area high school CTE teachers to make connections with the College and business and industry leaders. Those connections help to better align the curriculum in classes from high school to college, so students receive educations in the skillsets that industry needs. In her opening comments to the group Yanacheak said, “Currently there are 1,600 job openings in the Applied Science CTE area just in Northwest Iowa. All the jobs are high-paying and most do not require a 4-year degree. Industry isn’t what it used to be 15-25 years ago — the jobs are highly skilled, highly technical, and they are in very clean high-tech environments.”
“It is important to conduct summits like this,” said Cale Hutchings from the Iowa Department of Education. “Technology is always changing and how it is integrated into industry is always changing. It is important that our high school and college CTE instructors understand and work hands-on with the new technology and continuously talk to industry leaders, so they can integrate the technology and ideas into their classrooms. We need students who are prepared for today’s industry.” He went on to say the importance of the work these instructors do cannot be understated. “The state of Iowa critically needs CTE instructors and industry leaders to guide Iowa’s youth in order to fill the huge employment/skill gap that we currently have. We need to train Iowans to fill the highly skilled and high paying jobs that our industries need to fill.”
Allie Unrau, NCC Learning Intermediary Network Coordinator, stated about 14 area high school CTE instructors, 8 NCC CTE instructors, and 6 area industry leaders attended the event. “We had a few more signed up to attend, but unfortunately we had some bad weather this morning that stopped some from attending. Overall, we are really happy with how the day went.”