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New academy provides gateway to good jobs

Partnership created Northwest Iowa Career Academy

An academy that opened late last year to teach welding and the skills needed to work in manufacturing is on track to become a key element in training the region’s future workforce.

It’s called the Northwest Iowa Career Academy, and it’s located in Laurens.

The academy was created through a unique partnership that includes Iowa Central Community College, the Pocahontas County Economic Development Commission, area public schools and local businesses. It provides career and technical training for high school students and adults. Integrated manufacturing and welding are the primary subjects taught there.

The academy opened in September 2019.

Since it debuted about a year ago, students have recognized the value of the training offered at the academy. That was clearly demonstrated when the High School Apprenticeship Program recently started up with more than double the number of expected students. Eight students were expected; 20 showed up on the first day of the program.

”The interest has been tremendous,” Emily Williams, the marketing coordinator for the Pocahontas County Economic Development Commission, told The Messenger.

Those 20 students are high school juniors starting a two-year program. When they graduate, they will have 30 college credits and will be able to enter the workforce.

Programs like those offered at the Northwest Iowa Career Academy are vital to providing skilled workers that area businesses need.

We believe high school students and adults should consider the kind of career training offered at the academy. There are lots of rewarding – not to mention good-paying – jobs that can be attained without a bachelor’s degree and the academy can be the gateway to those jobs.

We are fortunate to have far-sighted leaders at Iowa Central and in the Pocahontas County Economic Development Commission who have worked with local schools and businesses to create this academy.

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