Northeast Iowa Community College's (NICC) interaction with business leaders, use of advisory committees that provide input on program decisions and curriculum, and the college's attention to workforce needs drives new programs options at NICC. Next fall, NICC will be rolling out five new academic programs in a direct response to local industry requirements for skilled workers.

The five new programs will be offered at either the Calmar or Peosta campuses, and they are designed to prepare students to enter emerging fields or to address acute skilled worker shortages locally.

The new Calmar campus Associate of Applied Science programs include the beef science technology, chemical technician and the large animal veterinary technician programs.

New programs at the Peosta campus include diploma and Associate of Applied Science offerings in industrial maintenance and medical assistant.

The beef science technology program provides agricultural students with hands-on experience in genetics, artificial insemination, pasture, feedlot and nutrition management, as well as the practical skills of farm financial management, record keeping and marketing. Other coursework covers farm business management, agronomy, disease management, animal reproduction, reproductive techniques, agricultural markets and animal diagnostics.

The chemical technician program employs state-of-the-art chemical lab instrumentation to teach students routine to complex chemical laboratory procedures and processes. An internship in a food processing industry, pharmaceutical lab or biofuels manufacturing industry offers real world experience to develop students' technical knowledge and skills. In the Calmar area, many job opportunities are emerging for skilled chemical technician graduates, particularly in agriculture and food science.

In the large animal veterinary technician program, students will learn to provide animal medical care under the supervision of a veterinarian. The program is designed to meet veterinarian technical certification, and students will gain knowledge through coursework with a primary focus on livestock. Several courses in the program and an internship opportunity in Decorah also focus on small companion animal veterinary care.

NICC developed two additional Peosta campus programs in response to local employers and their skilled worker needs. The industrial maintenance technician program, offered as both a diploma and two-year degree, is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully respond to a broad range of work requirements and duties within industrial, manufacturing, processing and building maintenance environments.

Diploma and two-year degree options in a new medical assistant program train students to join the medical profession as allied health professionals who perform administrative and clinical functions that support the services of physicians and other health practitioners. The medical assistant program is supported by a federal "Bridges2Healthcare" grant providing academic assistance for prospective and current students, and funding for curriculum development and new faculty.

For more information on these new programs and over 70 others at NICC, visit www.nicc.edu.