Iowa Central workforce initiative to train 600-plus

Iowa Central Business & Community (ICBC) has launched a new workforce initiative, “Training Today for Tomorrow’s Workforce,” for the 2022 year in response to the local workforce shortage.

ICBC is committed to enrolling 300 students in their healthcare continuing education classes, 300 students in their transportation continuing education classes, and increasing the number of women enrolled in manufacturing continuing education classes.

“We decided to roll out the Training Today for Tomorrow’s Workforce initiative because we saw a local need for skilled workers in the healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing career pipelines,” said Shelly Blunk, executive director of economic, workforce and continuing education.

Because of expansion in GAP Tuition Assistance, ICBC can offer these classes for free upon student’s application completion.

“GAP Tuition Assistance allows us to fill the gap in providing resources to populations that would otherwise not be able to afford training. Typically, GAP resources have an income cap, but with their expansion, anyone can qualify if they complete the application process,” said Melissa Vorrie, workplace programs director.

The healthcare classes offered by ICBC include certified nurse aid (CNA), emergency medical responder (EMR), emergency medical technician (EMT), and phlebotomy technician.

ICBC offers commercial driver’s license (CDL) classes as part of their transportation department. Manufacturing classes offered include production welding, computer numerical control (CNC) operator, integrated manufacturing advancement program (IMAP), industrial operator, and basic small engine repair.

“We have set these enrollment goals as part of our initiative because we know there are high quality workers in our communities that, given the opportunity to develop these skills, would fill in-demand jobs,” Blunk said.

The enrollment number goals came from the needs indicated in the area, previous class enrollment numbers, and student interest.

“When surveying area businesses, many requested that we offer a phlebotomy class. Since starting the class in 2021 we have had a consistent wait list for future classes,” said Vorrie.

In review of career pipelines, ICBC saw a gap in the number of women in manufacturing careers. Because of this, they are putting emphasis on enrolling women in these classes and getting them connected to area businesses that are looking to employ people in these fields.

“Having worked in manufacturing and specifically, recruiting for manufacturing roles, for over 20 years, I am a huge advocate for women considering jobs in this environment,” said Jennifer Leiting, senior human resources generalist at Nestle Purina PetCare. “Manufacturing has evolved so much over the years and there are so many reasons to consider a career in manufacturing. I’m proud that my female-led company, Nestle Purina PetCare, and our leadership, helps women thrive in a manufacturing career.”

ICBC supports and acts as a liaison between area businesses and their community. They offer customized training in safety, leadership, and more to business’s employees. They also assist in the application process for programs like 260E Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program, 260F Iowa Jobs Training Program, and 260G Accelerated Career Education.

In addition to the economic development support ICBC offers, they also offer community education. CPR/AED/First Aid, MSHA, OSHA 10, and Coaching Authorization classes are just a few of the community education offerings.

To learn more about healthcare, transportation, or manufacturing continuing education classes, please visit https://iowacentral.augusoft.net/, email noncredit@iowacenral.edu, or call (515)574-1293.


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