NCC Receives a $1 Million Dollar Grant for Career Academy

Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) and 3 other Iowa community colleges each received a $1 million dollar grant through the Career Academy Incentive Fund to prepare more high school students for success in college, postsecondary training, and the workforce. The goal of the grant is to increase access to career academy programs in high-demand fields through new regional centers. Students will benefit from industry partnerships, earn high school and college credit, and gain technical and traditional academic skills offered through career and technical education (CTE) programs.

In a press release, Governor Reynolds stated, “Expanding career academies develops our workforce talent pipeline and provides high school students with opportunities to gain valuable experience, connect with local employers and earn industry credentials and college credit. I commend Iowa Central, North Scott Community School District, NCC and SWCC for their dedication and leadership in growing career academies that prepare students for high-skill, high-demand careers available here in Iowa.”

NCC is allocating this grant award toward the purchase of the Northwest AEA’s property and two buildings in Sioux Center for the new Career Academy location. The rest of the purchase price will be funded through Accelerated Career Education (ACE) infrastructure dollars allocated from the State of Iowa. Iowa code limits expenditure of these dollars for facility expansion or improvements in order to increase programming offerings or enrollments at Iowa’s Community Colleges.

The property is ideally situated near industry partners like Interstates, Link Manufacturing, Smithfield Foods, and Pella Windows. The site will provide another center from which the College will serve the entire area’s industries better. In addition, it is also located only a couple of blocks west of the new Sioux Center High School.

NCC will work with area school districts to establish the new Career Academy. College President, Dr. John Hartog, said, “NCC intends to make the most of this facility by offering classes to high school students during the daytime. There will be four career pathways that we will offer to high school students:  Engineering Design, Production Welding, Healthcare, and Education (tied to the para-educator grant project). Additionally, in the evenings, we eventually hope to offer adult basic education (ABE) classes and English as a second language (ESL) classes.  We also intend to rent space back to the Northwest AEA so that the Agency can maintain its services to northwest Iowans.  This will make for a win-win for taxpayers, educators, and students.”

Current plans for maximizing usage of the facilities include offering additional non-credit industry and for-credit college programming in the facility throughout the day—especially in the areas of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT). These particular career fields are part of NCC’s strategic plans for Industry 4.0 with the pressing need for skilled workers in the areas of data analytics, automation, and cyber-security.

Hartog finished with, “This is just the start of a wonderful endeavor. It will take a number of years of hard work and partner participation in order for the Career Academy to be utilized to its full potential. We believe good learning will take place in this future educational facility. Students and their future families will be positively impacted for generations to come. Industry partners will support this promising endeavor since it is mission-centric, builds tomorrow’s workforce, and improves the lives of northwest Iowans. Together we will fulfill NCC’s Strategic Plan to ‘Care for People, Strengthen Partnerships, Build to Serve, Open Doors of Opportunity, and Empower Learning.”

Note: The Career Academy Incentive Fund was established by a 2019 law that extends a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure, called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE), through January 2051.

For more information about educational opportunities at NCC, either on campus or online, call 712-324-5061, 800-352-4907, or visit nwicc.edu.
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