Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) and its numerous community partners were recently recognized by the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation for their efforts in developing the Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) entry-level certificate program in Dubuque.

NICC Vice President Wendy Mihm-Herold gave her report regarding the CNC program during last week's Board meeting Monday.

This project matched the unemployed and underemployed with employers looking for skilled workers in machining and advanced manufacturing. Upon completion of this intense, four-month training program, all students were either hired by these companies or are continuing their education in one of NICC's related degrees. This program, now being called Opportunity Dubuque, is being expanded to include entry-level welding, industrial maintenance, information technology and advanced manufacturing training. Similar projects are also being done in Manchester and Cresco.

NICC President Liang Chee Wee said NICC continues to work with area school districts, community partners as well as business and industry to address the education and workforce needs of its communities.

"We are committed to providing individuals with the education and training that will lead them to better employment opportunities as well as helping businesses gain the skilled workers they need to remain competitive," Wee stated.

NICC's numerous community partners include Project Hope, Dubuque Works, Dubuque Community Schools, East Central Intergovernmental Association, Iowa Works and local employers.

New Jobs Training agreement

In related business, the Board approved New Jobs Training agreements with Featherlite Trailers, Inc. in Cresco and Eastern Iowa Machine Company, Inc. (EIMCO) of Farley.

Mihm-Herold reported that Featherlite will be expanding and plans to add 30 new jobs for an anticipated issuance of $75,000, while EIMCO is planning to create 11 positions for a total estimated issuance of $90,000. Both companies expect to hire within the next year.

Board members also approved the purchase of welding electrode, filler metal, as well as fuel and shielding gases for the welding program on the Peosta campus. The low bid was awarded to Superior Welding Supply Co. of Dubuque for a sum of $23,455. In addition, the Board approved the annual contract renewal for attorney services from Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC and Anderson of Cedar Rapids and Wilmarth, Van Der Maaten, Belay and Fretheim of Decorah.

Calmar Campus Construction

Vice President John Noel gave the Board an update on the renovations of the Wilder Center on the Calmar campus.

This new facility is currently being renovated to house a business and industry-training center. When completed early next year, the space will accommodate conferences and trainings for up to 200 people. It will also include a refurbished auditorium, video conferencing and virtual reality lab, a health lab and various meeting rooms.

This project was funded by the college's $35 million bond levy and matching funds from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.

Electronic Documentation

In other business, Dr. Linda Peterson, vice president for student services, reported the document-imaging program has completed its first year.

During that time, NICC has converted over 110,000 paper records into electronic documents.

"This has truly made our processes more efficient," Peterson said. "Over the next year all of our student forms will also be electronic and no new student paper files will be created."

Human resources, financial aid, student services and the business office have all implemented the new system. Other offices will be added over the next year.

Newly Hired Program Assistants

In other matters, the Board approved the hiring of Kelli Hovey and Susan Van Metre as veterinary program assistants on the Calmar campus.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is Monday, Aug. 20, at 3 p.m. at the Peosta campus.