Largest IVCCD job program now official

Lennox Marshalltown General Manager Miguel Gutierrez shows equipment inside the manufacturing plant in July.

IOWA FALLS – The largest jobs program in the history of IVCCD that could help train almost 850 workers, was finalized Wednesday at the Board of Directors meeting in Iowa Falls on Wednesday.

The District will issue up to $5 million worth of Industrial New Jobs Training Certificates, essentially bonds, for job training agreements with Lennox and JBS. The Board approved the publication of notice on the proposition and the preliminary official statement and electronic bidding procedures Wednesday, making the agreements official after approving the concept last month.

“Lennox is excited to be working with Iowa Valley Community College to ensure that our employees are, number one, first and foremost safe, highly skilled and well-trained,” said Lennox International Vice President of Government Affairs and Corporate Communications John Hurst. “This partnership goes a long way in helping accomplish that task.”

The agreement with Lennox Industries of Marshalltown will provide training for 750 Lennox employees and assist the company with its recovery from the 2018 tornado. The SPC/JBS agreement will train an additional 93 employees and assist in its recovery as well.

The Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program assists businesses creating new positions with new employee training. Eligible businesses may be new to Iowa, expanding the Iowa workforce or relocating to the state. The tornado damage qualified the companies for the Iowa Legislature approved special 206E Industrial New Jobs Training Agreement, which will be used to provide technical and safety-related training for the employees impacted.

“The amount of the agreement is directly related to the number of employees impacted,” said Jacque Goodman, IVCCD vice chancellor or continuing education and training. “In addition to the technical and safety training, the agreement will also include some on-the-job training for selected employees in the Distribution Center. It’s really a win-win for JBS, Lennox, the community, and Iowa Valley which would have not been possible without the support of Iowa Economic Development Authority, Marshall Economic Development, and our legislators.”

Goodman also said there will be online and classroom training options for employees of both companies.

The agreement with Lennox is worth $4.3 million, while the agreement with JBS is worth $430,000.

“We are committed to the community,” Hurst said. “We obviously do training today, but this kind of bonds the community with the specific training that we’re going to do.”

The program, created by the Iowa Legislature in its Education Appropriations Bill, has specific requirements and stipulations. To be eligible, companies must be located in, or relocating to Iowa. The companies must also be engaged in interstate or intrastate commerce for the purpose of manufacturing, and cannot have closed or substantially reduced their employment base.

Other details of the deal include:

• Administered by Iowa’s 15 community colleges and financed through bonds sold by the colleges

• Depending upon the number of new jobs pledged and the starting wages for the new jobs, an award amount is calculated and a training plan developed

• The award amount is paid back and bonds retired by the business diverting 1.5 percent or 3 percent, dependent upon wage thresholds, of gross payroll, from the Iowa state withholding taxes generated by the new positions

• Training is available at essentially no cost since bonds are retired with dollars that otherwise would have been paid to the state as withholding taxes

• Participants may be eligible for reimbursement up to 50 percent of the approved award amount for on-the-job training

• Companies may be eligible for a corporate new jobs tax credit if the company’s existing Iowa employee base is increased by at least 10 percent.

The 260E Industrial New Jobs Training projects are funded by the issuance, sale and repayment of bonds during a 10-year period. IVCCD will receive about $85,000 per year in administrative fees for overseeing the training agreement.