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IVCCD focuses on outreach to Hardin, Tama Counties

The Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) Board of Directors heard about outreach efforts with Hardin and Tama Counties when it met this month.

Vice Chancellor of Iowa Valley Continuing Education (IVCE) Jacque Goodman and IVCE Employer Relations Supervisor Sandy Supianoski told the Board about the “Community Engagement: Building Relationships in Hardin and Tama Counties” initiative, which has been in the works for several months. The two shared data related to Iowa Valley’s efforts in those two counties and said they have spent six months visiting with as many as 50 residents, business owners and community leaders in those counties to solicit their ideas and opinions.

Among the relevant factors were a course cancellation rate of more than 38 percent in those counties (the best practice benchmark is about 17 percent), a 2016 reduction in force that led to county positions not being filled, the need for additional input on types of programs and services needed, and the need to achieve the District’s mission of responding to diverse community needs. Both counties consider their challenges to include poverty, quality of life, older demographic, population decline, retention of youth, and fewer businesses.

As a result of their meetings with community members, Iowa Valley has compiled a list of potential short-term and long-term initiatives for each county, as well as numerous partnership opportunities. Supianoski said at least two projects are already in the works, and she hopes several more will come to fruition within the next year.

Three of the 10 short-term goals for Hardin County include working with the hospital and long-term care facilities to promote nurse aide and EMT job opportunities, partnering with the Iowa Falls Chamber to increase volunteerism and community involvement, and partnering with 3-4 businesses to expand internship and job shadowing opportunities. Longer-term initiatives involve partnering with Ackley to develop a safety training facility and expanding Iowa Valley’s partnership with the Hansen Family Hospital to develop a Healthcare Navigator program.

For Tama County, three of the seven short-term projects include assisting the Tama County Conservation staff with translating materials and signage in Spanish (already in the works), partnering with several agencies to offer a community awareness/development training series on specific topics of interest, and partnering with multiple groups to provide a summer Kids Camp at Otter Creek. A potential longer-term goal is to explore the possibility of creating a business incubator with South Tama High School students.

“We’ve shared this presentation and these project lists with our contacts in both counties, and we’re excited about continuing down this path,” said Goodman. “We’ve made a commitment, we’re building relationships and continuing to seek out partners and stakeholders, and we’re excited to keep the momentum building.”

In other matters, the Board approved a contract with BGM School District to provide college courses to BGM High School students, the first of several such high school contracts to be presented this fall. The Board also heard a review of the July 19 Mass Casualty Training event that took place on the MCC/Iowa Valley campus, received information about a website accessibility compliance project from the Marketing Office, and heard about a Continuous Quality Improvement Network conference attended by several Iowa Valley employees.

The next regular meeting of the IVCCD Board will be Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 4 pm at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls.

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