A recent report from Iowa Workforce Development noted that Iowa has been able to regain a large number of the jobs that were lost due to the severe recession of 2007-2009. Similar to other states across the nation, many of the jobs are concentrated in advanced manufacturing industries, construction, STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math), healthcare, and natural resources. Of greater importance to note, these occupations will comprise nearly 60 percent of the jobs that will make up Iowa's economy and will require education and training beyond high school, but less than a bachelor's degree.
Multiple studies have concluded that two-year degree holders, especially in these high demand jobs, can earn salaries that will surpass those of four-year college graduates. The demand for these occupations holds true throughout the Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) and includes: carpenters, machinists, nurses, electrical lineworkers, welders, and computer support specialists. Business partners have made the point that not only are their industries rebounding from the recession and growing, but positions will open because of anticipated vacancies due to the large number of retiring "baby boomers."
Iowa's 2013 General Assembly provided unprecedented support for the Iowa community colleges through the Workforce Training and Economic Development Fund. The intended focus for the funding is to provide the state's community colleges with the resources necessary to continue addressing the creation of a skilled workforce and, in particular, address the shortage of middle-skill workers in Iowa.
Iowa Valley Community College District has specifically targeted the funding to enhance and expand our programs in Electromechanical, Machine Trades, Welding, Biotechnology, and Nursing programs preparing our young people and returning adults for middle-skill jobs that are in high demand locally, statewide and nationally.
Iowa Valley Community College District is proud of the solid partnerships we have established with area businesses and industries. We applaud Governor Branstad for his Skilled Iowa initiative, and will continue to support the Iowa Workforce Development's National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) program.
By maintaining strong working relationships with all of our partners, the programs, faculty and staff of Iowa Valley Community College District will be able to provide a skilled workforce and play a critical role in keeping our local and state economies strong. Those who seek careers with good salaries, but do not require a four-year degree, are encouraged to contact our colleges for more information.
Christopher Duree is the Chancellor of Iowa Valley Community College and can be reached at 641-844-5720.