2014 legislative summary

Iowa Central Community College serves a population of just over 130,000 in north central and northwest Iowa. Our college is the engine for economic development and growth in our region. Our enrollment is just above 5,800 credit students and we provided more than 140,000 non-credit training hours in the 2012-2013 school year, which reinforces the fact we are the education and training center of choice.

In the 2013 the Iowa General Assembly, with the governor’s signature, provided more tools for our work-force toolbox to help us address the work-force needs of our regional economy. Iowa Central Community College is working to effectively use these tools to meet our mission of providing quality education and training for the communities and citizens we serve.

In 2014, the Iowa General Assembly provided and the governor approved funding for the following Iowa Central programs:

General state aid – $9,930,204 an increase of $319,120. With increased state funding, Iowa Central will be able to maintain very cost-effective tuition rates while maintaining staffing levels that ensure continued delivery of a wide-range of courses and training that our students and regional economy demands.

Accelerated Career Education Infrastructure funding – $400,000, which is equal to last year. Iowa Central uses the ACE Infrastructure dollars to support the facility needs of career and technology programs in high demand. The dollars are used for facility upgrades and expansion.

GAP tuition assistance – $112,396, an increase over last year of $1,222. Iowa Central is providing need-based tuition assistance for non-credit certification training for high-demand jobs, such as truck driving, welding and CNAs. This assistance helps people attain certifications and enter the workforce as quickly as possible.

Workforce Training and Economic Development Fund – $991,126, an increase of $26,059. Iowa Central is using these funds to acquire equipment that mimics what is used in business and industry. We are also supporting our high growth high demand programs such as electrical technologies, process technology and industrial mechanics, as well as the potential establishment of a Career Academy.

Pathways for Academic Career and Employment Program (PACE) $290,420, an increase of $1,983. For this program Iowa Central will provide specialists to guide students along a prescribed academic pathway from the Adult Basic Education level through college completion or certificate programs in order to assist students in meeting future work-place needs.

Adult Basic Education – $218,279, an increase of $54. For this program Iowa Central will increase our outreach efforts and the number of adults we serve needing education and literacy services, leading to a high school equivalency diploma. This will enable us to assist students with their transition to college, training and work.

Work-Based Learning Intermediary Program – $96,667, which is equal to last year. Iowa Central will use this funding to establish and connect high schools with business and industry. The connection will involve both students as well as parents, teachers, counselors and administrators. The intermediary will play a critical role in establishing career pathways by utilizing the following components: career exploration activities, career day planning, work-force tours, and high school presentations on job seeking skills, externships, work-force data and employer panels.

On behalf of Iowa Central staff, faculty, administration, board of directors and most importantly, our students, we would like to thank the Iowa General Assembly and the governor for their strong bipartisan support. We have a lot of work to do to help train our future work force and together with our community and business partners we will get the job done.

Jim Kersten is vice president of external affairs and government relations at Iowa Central Community College.