Over half of the jobs in Iowa require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

Yet only 33 percent of Iowans have those skills.

"A community college education is becoming increasingly important in the state," according to Iowa Workforce Development.

In an effort to address this gap, Northeast Iowa Community College is addressing workforce training and education needs by building partnerships with local business and industry, community leaders, school districts and others invested in sustaining and growing local communities.

NICC recently organized advisory committees in several area communities and will also be reviewing each program area to make sure curriculum and technology are up-to-date and meeting workforce needs.

"NICC is committed to providing training for students that will best prepare them for the workforce. This is key to the mission of NICC and our role of enhancing community vitality," noted NICC President Liang Chee Wee at Monday's meeting of the NICC Board of Trustees.

A survey was recently done in Delaware County to address community needs.

Dr. Wendy Mihm-Herold, vice president for business and community solutions, reported over 380 surveys were returned. The surveys expressed interest in health, business and technology programs as well as non-credit training in computer and soft skills.

"The Manchester Regional Education Partnership (MREP) has already proven to be a great success," said Mihm-Herold. She also announced MREP had received an All-Star Community Award for its innovation and excellence from the Iowa League of Cities.

In other matters, the Board re-elected Dr. Ken Reimer of Elkader Board president, Decorah's Jim Anderson vice president and reappointed Janet Bullerman as District secretary and Tom Ridout as District Treasurer. Rhonda Kirkegaard, Trustee from Dubuque, was selected to represent the Board on the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees.

Following the meeting, the Trustees met with the NICC Foundation Board of Directors to celebrate the induction of two NICC Calmar campus alumni into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

John Condon of Decorah and Heidi and Brian Lantzky from Hawkeye were honored.

The Outstanding Retiree Service Award was presented posthumously to Gene Arnburg.

Now in its sixth year, this annual event honors alumni who have found success within their fields, contribute to their local community and embody the NICC values of service, respect, integrity, innovation and stewardship.

The next meeting of the NICC Board of Trustees is Monday, Nov. 19, at 3 p.m. in the Peosta campus boardroom.