Several of our member Colleges were selected for submission for Community Project Funding from Iowa’s Congressional Delegation this year. Congratulations to these Colleges and thank you to Reps. Hinson and Axne.
Project Name: DMACC Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training Program
The DMACC Transportation Institute offers a CDL training program that serves approximately 150 students per year when able to run full classes. However, DMACC has identified current staffing and equipment needs that limit the number of individuals who may be trained. With this funding, DMACC intends to hire an additional evening CDL instructor, CDP pathway navigator, and on-site contract training instructor. Combined, the contract training instructor and evening CDL instructor are estimated to expand capacity by roughly 100 students per year. The CDL pathway navigator would be able to field 5-10 walk-ins per week and 20 calls per day from prospective students. Additionally, DMACC would use part of the funds to lease truck cabs or buy truck beds needed to train students.
Using taxpayer dollars for this project will help connect students with job opportunities, address the demand for more commercial motor vehicle operators, and work to help ease the supply chain issues driving up costs for Iowa families and businesses. According to the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD)’s Future Ready Iowa initiative, commercial motor vehicle operation has been identified as a high-demand career. IWD projects 1,160 annual job openings for Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers in the central Iowa region through the year 2028 and 6,190 per year statewide. Funding this project would allow DMACC to expand operations, train more Iowans, and help address driver shortages.
With additional staff and equipment improvements supported through this grant, DMACC will gain capacity to train additional individuals above and beyond that number. DMACC estimates that an additional 90-100 individuals could be trained with this money. Class B training is currently only provided on a very limited basis due to lack of equipment, availability of space, and lack of staff.
Project Name: Hawkeye Community College Smart Automation Certification Alliance Center
Request Amount: $1,104,938
Funding the Hawkeye Community College Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) Center will increase access to educational opportunity for Iowans, strengthen the local workforce, and contribute to the economic development of Waterloo, Iowa. This project would create an apprenticeship hub that will focus on short-term, competency-based stackable credentials crucial to the manufacturing industry. Businesses throughout the state are constantly adapting innovative practices like Industry 4.0, which utilizes robotics and automation and require skilled workers. The SACA Center will enable students and current workers alike to earn credentials that will prepare them for Industry 4.0 manufacturing jobs. The country is facing record workforce shortages that are disrupting commercial supply chains worldwide, and this program will address Iowa's skilled-worker shortage while simultaneously bolstering our national defense manufacturing workforce.
Project Name: Northeast Iowa Community College’s National Education Center for Agricultural Safety Equipment Upgrades
Request Amount: $372,000
This project will support a need not just in the northeast Iowa community, but in rural and agricultural communities across the rest of the state and country. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) is a hands-on interactive training facility located on the Northeast Iowa Community College’s (NICC) Peosta campus that equips personnel and community members to prepare for common dangerous situations workers in agriculture and rural communities face. By providing interactive learning experiences to essential workers, including health care workers, first responders, and agricultural producers, NECAS is serving the needs of rural communities and saving lives. These essential trainings range from confined space trainings and combine auger rescues, to tractor rollovers, allowing the professionals involved to tailor the experience to the needs of the rural community. This is truly a unique, community-based approach to health and safety that will provide hands-on skills trainings related directly to agricultural machinery injuries. This funding will be used to purchase capital equipment for the program, including the Jaws of Life, an indoor grain bin confined space trainer, ventilator simulator, crash cart, and other necessary training equipment.
Project Name: Kirkwood Community College Aviation Maintenance Technician Program
Request Amount: $358,885
This project will support Kirkwood Community College’s partnership with the Eastern Iowa Airport, investing in an Associate of Applied Science degree program to train, mentor, and graduate certified aviation mechanic technicians. These funds will support the development of an industry-ready curriculum and the outfitting of an existing aircraft hangar at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids with necessary equipment and technology to serve as an instructional facility for the program. With a projected shortage of 1,500 FAA-certified Airframe and/or Powerplant (A&P) mechanics in a 350-mile range locally, these resources will help develop workers for an in-demand career field, supporting economic growth and development in the region while addressing current labor shortages. Kirkwood Community College is focused on aligning its curriculum with the needs of local employers, seeking to meet the demand for the air travel industry that is essential to economic growth in the region.