Federal grant hopes to strengthen manufacturing industry in Iowa
Posted: Apr 30, 2013 4:16 PM CDT
Lee County continues to struggle with the highest unemployment rate in Iowa, but officials at Southeastern Community College hope new federal funding will help change that.
The initiative is geared towards boosting the manufacturing industry, and training students for blue collar jobs.
Officials at SCC say they received $600,000 to add new courses, that would give students advanced skills in the in-demand manufacturing industry.
Stephen Hickey is a SCC students who says trades work is the kind of work he’s always been good at.
“I was a welder when I was a kid, so factory work. Hands-on stuff,” said Hickey.
Students like Hickey can take the skills they’ve learned in this course and get a job in the manufacturing industry upon completion.
But now thanks to the I-AM federal grant, Hickey has the opportunity to learn more advanced skills to move up in his field.
I-AM grant director Susan Dunek says there’s a need for higher skilled workers in the field.
“It is well documented that we have a mid skill gap here in the state of Iowa and there is a need for workers who are in that mid skill range,” said Dunek.
And with the new funding Dunek says the college hopes to strengthen it’s workforce.
“Skilled jobs are ones that require some type of additional qualifications above and beyond just being able to perform work,” said Dunek.
Dunek says students will have the opportunity to receive certificates in such fields as production, logistics and transportation.
Hickey says he thinks the new courses will benefit people like him who are pursuing a career in manufacturing.
The courses are short-term certificate programs, and are not necessarily part of degree programs.
For more information on classes and start dates, call Southeastern Community College.