Indian Hills Community College develops new regional center for southern Iowa students
Editor’s note: This school feature is part one in a series highlighting recent recipients of the Career Academy Incentive Fund. The Career Academy Incentive Fund was established by a 2019 law that extends a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure, called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE), through January 2051. At least $1 million will be awarded annually to support career academy partnerships among community colleges, school districts, business and industry, Regional Planning Partnerships, Area Education Agencies and others to increase student access to college programs, state-of-the-art equipment and career paths in Iowa’s in-demand fields.
CENTERVILLE -- “Let’s go!” is the rallying cry of high school students everywhere who are itching to get out into the real world and jump start their future. At Indian Hills Community College, the addition of a new regional center through the Career Academy Incentive Fund may help southern Iowa students move onward even faster.
Using the $1 million grant award, Indian Hills plans to break ground on a new regional center at their Centerville campus. This will eventually enable students in seven Iowa school districts to have more opportunities to participate in career and technical education (CTE) programs.
“The development of the new Hills West Regional Center is the result of a great partnership with the districts at Albia, Centerville, Davis County, Moravia, Moulton-Udell, Seymour and Wayne schools as well as the local business community,” said Dr. Matthew Thompson, president at Indian Hills Community College. “Together, we can connect students with valuable CTE programs that provide training and education to better prepare them for today’s jobs that are in high demand.”
CTE programs offer industry experience and hands-on learning for students, who can simultaneously earn high school and college credits. Through the Career Academies program at Indian Hills Community College, students who earn college credits while still in high school can often complete their degree with only one additional year of study. Indian Hills Community College also offers students opportunities with job shadowing, internships, career tours and alternative high school courses.
“The Indian Hills Centerville Campus is a hub for the counties served in the western portion of our 10-county service region,” Thompson said. “The new facility will be a much larger place that will be able to house our construction technology, welding, industrial maintenance, agricultural science and eventually health science programs.”
By connecting with businesses that need a skilled workforce, many of the CTE programs offered at Indian Hills can result in industry-recognized credentials and certification, which can be useful for further post-secondary education or actual careers.
“We are excited about the welding technology program at this campus,” Thompson said. “With our partnership with C&C Manufacturing, students will be able to earn a diploma, two-year degree and American Welding Society certification.”
Other partnerships have also been beneficial for the Indian Hills Community College. Through private donations from businesses in the community, Indian Hills has been able to leverage funds received from the Career Academy Incentive Fund for the development of the future Hills West Regional Center.
“The business community understands that they’re a part of the solution,” Thompson said. “This investment will help provide a skilled workforce for the future.”
Indian Hills Community College is tentatively planning to start work on the Hills West Regional Center at the Centerville campus in the summer of 2022.