NCC Launches Information Technology Career Track at the NCC Career Academy with State Grant Support

Sioux Center, Iowa – Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) is excited to unveil a new Information Technology (IT) career track at the NCC Career Academy, an educational initiative aimed at addressing the growing demand for IT and automation skills in the workforce. This development is made possible by a generous state grant from the Career Academy Incentive Fund Grant, amounting to $556,000, dedicated to outfitting a state-of-the-art classroom and computer lab, with essential IT equipment, including servers, switches, and firewalls, which enables hands-on learning experiences.

The new IT track enhances the Career Academy’s existing Applied Technology offerings, including Engineering Design and Welding career tracks, and aligns with the principles of Manufacturing 4.0. This includes a focus on cybersecurity, data management, and automated manufacturing, further broadening the academy’s commitment to advancing technological education and workforce readiness in line with current and future industry standards.

Seamless Transition into Advanced IT Education

Students of the Academy will progress through a designed, college-level curriculum for high school students starting their junior year, beginning with NCC’s Help Desk Technician Certificate in the first year, followed by the TiaComp A+ Certification and an NCC Information Technology Specialist (ITS) Diploma by the end of the second year of the academy. This foundation prepares them for further education through the second year of the Information Technology Specialist Associate of Applied Science degree program through NCC and/or immediate employment in the Information Technology field.

Program Structure:

  • Year 1: Students earn NCC’s Help Desk Technician Certificate.
  • End of Year 2: Students gain TiaComp A+ Certification and an Information Technology Specialist (ITS) Diploma, preparing them to enter the second year of NCC’s ITS program for an Associate of Applied Science degree.
  • Outcome: Students leave with two industry-recognized certifications and a college diploma.

A Collaborative Framework for Success

The concept of the Career Academy in Sioux Center was developed by the College and was built on the information gathered from business and industry partners, the Manufacturing Sector Board, and Health Care Sector Board. As the College looked to expand the offerings at this regional center, the Information Technology Specialist Advisory Committee provided input on what would be needed to provide a quality expansion at the facility. These partnerships underscore the importance of community and industry involvement in shaping a relevant and responsive curriculum and educational model.

Dr. John Hartog, President of Northwest Iowa Community College, shared his excitement for the new initiative: “From the outset, we’ve approached the development of the Sioux Center Career Academy with the understanding that it’s a long-term journey, not a quick race. This perspective has guided us as we unveil the variety of opportunities available at the Career Academy. The generous grant from the state has significantly propelled us toward completing our goals as stated in our strategic plan, making the IT Career Track a critical component in the comprehensive suite of offerings at the Sioux Center Career Academy.” Hartog continued, “We’re not just enthusiastic; we’re invigorated by what the future holds for our students and the regional workforce. The addition of the IT Track is a testament to our unwavering dedication to bridging the educational gap with the demands of the industry, advancing our students to the forefront of technological innovation. With robust partnerships and an industry designed curriculum, we’re not just preparing students for the future; we’re actively shaping it, establishing new benchmarks for IT career readiness.”

Overall Benefits to a Student when Enrolling in the Career Academy

Financial Savings: Students are exempt from tuition costs for classes completed while still in high school, providing significant savings on future college expenses.

Career Exploration: The Academy offers a chance to explore various career options within a field, helping students make informed decisions about their futures.

Hands-on Experience: Through industry partnerships, students gain valuable exposure and practical experience in a career field.

Accelerated Training: The program is designed to cut training time significantly, allowing students to enter the workforce or pursue further education sooner.

Industry Certifications: Students have the opportunity to earn certifications recognized by industry, enhancing their employability upon graduation.

Career Focus: The Academy helps students develop a clear career focus, setting academic and personal goals that align with their interests and aspirations.

Smooth Transition to College: By participating in college-level coursework, students become accustomed to the rigors of post-secondary education, easing the transition from high school.

Personal Development: The program aims to boost self-esteem and confidence, providing students with the skills needed to succeed in their personal and professional lives.

Tailored Instruction: Small group settings ensure personalized attention, catering to the specific interests and needs of students.

How to Enroll

Starting in the fall of 2024, the Sioux Center Academy, in partnership with local school districts, will offer career tracks in Health, Education, Engineering, Welding, and Information Technology for students entering their junior year of high school.

Participating high schools:

  1. Boyden-Hull Community School District
  2. MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District
  3. Rock Valley Community School District
  4. Sioux Center Community School District
  5. West Sioux Community School District
  6. Netherlands Reformed High School
  7. Unity Christian High School
  8. Western Christian High School

For students from the participating schools interested in these programs, please reach out to your high school guidance counselor for further details. Registration opens in March 2024. If your high school is not among those listed and you wish to participate, please contact Sarah Breems-Diekevers at Northwest Iowa Community College by calling 712-324-5061, extension 137, or by emailing sbreems-diekevers@nwicc.edu.

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