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MCC offers career development courses

As a part of its online educational program, Marshalltown Community College is offering six-week career development courses meant to fit a variety of different careers.

One of the main courses is utility fundamentals.

“This is a course that’s a great example of meeting employer demands,” Iowa Valley Chancellor Kristie Fisher said.

The concept for this class came up when a local business came with a need to the program.

“So Alliant came to us and had the idea of trying to find new ways to get people engaged, or to give them a chance to try out the utility,” Fisher said.

She said programs like these have been offered in the past.

“We’ve done similar types of programs with Alliant meaning whatever their need is at the moment we figure out how to do a course that helps people get skills and get them on the track to go into their apprenticeship program,” Fisher said. “So when the program first started, it really started with one of these similar types of needs from Alliant.”

The utility fundamentals course work is centered around basic shop math, forklift certification, OSHA, career readiness, computer basics and more. Fisher said this course may be offered once again in the fall after an evaluation of how the summer course went.

“What we’ll do is after we’re all done with the summer, then we’ll sit down with a client and figure out what worked and what didn’t work and decide if we should offer it another time,” Fisher said.

It is just a small part in a bigger dynamic that Iowa Valley and companies like Alliant Energy have with one another.

“We have a lot of graduates, who whether it’s going directly to work for Alliant, or the hospital, or any of the other employers in town, it’s one of the beauties of community colleges is that they tend to be students who not only stay in Iowa, but tend to be students who stay in their local areas,” Fisher said.

According to Jon Nunez, director of programming and operations at Iowa Valley Continuing Education, there are about eight to 10 students in the utility fundamentals course this summer.

Fisher and Nunez said this class offers unique benefits.

The class can have benefits for students who don’t have prior knowledge in the utility industry.

“I think another benefit is that this perhaps opens the door for people to get into an industry or a field that they have no prior knowledge about or experience with,” Nunez said. “Because we’re building from basics, teaching the fundamentals to someone that has never even thought about the utility industry to go into that field right now and feel like they can’t try it, because they don’t know anything about it, I think it’s a huge benefit.”

Nunez said the course is a hybrid of Marshalltown Community College instructors and Iowa Valley instructors.

“The continuing education department put this together, but we’re utilizing some of the credit instructors that teach the full blown utility classes for credit or certificate programs,” Nunez said. “So that could be another path right people could get into this and really like it and enjoy it.”

There is also the materials fundamentals course. It has a focus on developing skills to get an entry level manufacturing job.

“It also offers certifications in OSHA and CPR,” Nunez said. “This one includes welding as well, computer basics, and things like that. So it’s a little bit different.”

Nunez said the materials fundamentals course is another way of opening doors for students to a field they don’t have a lot of experience with.

“So I want to make sure that all of these were developed as a result of the workforce shortage and to give people a path into an industry that perhaps they have not thought about,” Nunez said.

These types of courses all depend on the industry needs.

“We’re always looking, looking ahead perhaps adding more of these programs and if people have ideas if somebody wants to reach out to us and says, ‘I need help figuring this out,’ we will work with them to figure something out,” Nunez said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States in the early portion of 2020, classes have either moved completely online or have been taught in a hybrid platform.

This is the case with the programs at MCC.

There are six-week programs that are both instructor-led or could be self-paced with a three month access, but are a little bit more expensive.

These courses are provided by the school and are instructor led. They are offered throughout the summer and into the fall.

The courses range in subject.

They include computer skills, small business startups, accounting, computer classes, information technology, languages, health and fitness, construction and trades, teacher development and more.

Some of the courses may require additional technology including certain computer software or hardware requirements.

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Contact Sam Stuve at 641-753-6611 or

sstuve@timesrepublican.com

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