Iowa Central Community College's Two Career Academies Are Up and Running
by Iowa Central Information
Posted on 9/23/2020
Fort Dodge, IA - As the new school year begins for schools across Iowa, so do classes at Iowa Central’s two Career Academies in Laurens, Iowa, and Jefferson, Iowa and the initiatives have been very successful. Both academies are ready to take on the school year through the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Career Academy provides an option for high school students from various school districts to enroll in college-level courses for specific career paths.
These two centers not only lets students explore different careers but also helps them develop new skills, gain college credits, and save money. Along with college coursework, students also have the chance to participate in industry tours, access to guest speakers, potential job shadowing, as well as college visits and career fairs. The benefits of this educational program lead to the opening of the second academy in Greene County.
Officially opened last month on August 31st, the Greene County Career Academy was built alongside the new GCCSD high school in Jefferson. While a formal opening ceremony has been tabled due to the current pandemic, classes are up and running. Currently, there are 45 students enrolled in various programs at this location. These programs include welding, agriculture, IT (internet technology), culinary arts, computer science, health science, and construction. In the first semester, the most popular career pathways at the Greene County location are computer science and health science. This new facility boasts the latest equipment and technology, preparing students for the job market of today and tomorrow.
While the North Central Iowa Career Academy in Laurens has been open since the beginning of 2020, this fall, there are 21 students enrolled from surrounding school districts such as Storm Lake, Newell-Fonda, Pocahontas, and Sioux Central. Of those 21 students, 20 are exploring the welding career, and one is taking industrial machinists courses. Last February, local Laurens manufacturer Pengo Corporation donated many new tools to the academy for students to utilize in their welding and industrial programs.
“Iowa Central is very proud of strong support and cooperation between the local community school districts and businesses,” said Dr. Dan Kinney, President of Iowa Central Community College. “These strong partnerships have enabled a new way of preparing students for career opportunities that will build stronger communities in our region and state.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both of Iowa Central’s Career Academies are hosting in-person classes that adhere to strict social distancing and PPE policies in both classes and labs. Some classes, such as computer science, are being live-streamed between the two locations. Other shared resources include having a shared instructor for the health sciences program.