Partnerships lead to local workforce training programs
By Robin Shaffer Lilienthal, Marshalltown Community College Provost
The Iowa Valley Community College District mission states, in part, that we are “committed to building community partnerships.” At MCC/Iowa Valley Grinnell, we are fulfilling this pledge by working closely with our local business and industry partners to educate and train students who will become their skilled workforce. In the last couple of years four notable programs have been developed because our business partners asked MCC to develop career areas that allows us to “grow our own” employees.
First, Wes Finch Auto Plaza in Grinnell shared its difficulties in hiring and retaining qualified automotive technicians, so the company asked Iowa Valley Grinnell (IVG) to develop an auto tech program. These programs are typically quite expensive for community colleges to develop because they generally require substantial infrastructure. Wes Finch partnered with IVG by offering the use of its state-of-the-art mechanics bays for program lab experiences.
Second, Emerson Process Management-Fisher Controls in Marshalltown expressed an anticipated need both locally and worldwide for super technicians to troubleshoot and repair highly technical industrial equipment, so the Electro-Mechanical Systems Technologist program was developed at MCC. This partnership is another leg of the long-standing relationship with both MCC and Iowa Valley Continuing Education (IVCE) for the Machine Operator Training Program.
Third, when Brownells of Montezuma, the world’s largest supplier of firearms accessories and gunsmithing tools, decided to expand its business, the company indicated a need for highly skilled professional gunsmiths. This partnership with IVG has resulted in a unique program that is one-of-a-kind in Iowa.
Fourth, our most recent request has been from Alliant Energy in Marshalltown. Since Alliant is very satisfied with the partnership with MCC and IVCE for the utility technician diploma program, it requested two-year degree programs in line worker technician and gas line technician. This latest partnership will create educational opportunities for central Iowa students who used to have to travel to the northeast and northwest corners of the state to enroll in these degree programs. When the program curriculum is finalized, MCC will be training students for key positions in the energy distribution industry, which is experience an aging workforce.
We expect and look forward to many future opportunities to meet our mission of building community partnerships through developing education and training programs that help to build a skilled workforce in central Iowa.