ALGONA - The Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday approved expanding the massage therapy program from the Spencer campus to include Algona.
Mark Gruwell, executive dean of instruction and development, told trustees the Spencer program would remain; however, due to high demand, he noted the program could also benefit the Algona campus.
"Because of demographics we believe we have an excellent chance to grow the program," Gruwell said.
Noting that massage therapists earn on average $30,900 nationally, he said in Iowa they earn $30,620.
The board approved the recommendation.
Also approved was a new event management program for the Spirit Lake campus.
"We have a very active and enthusiastic advisory committee," said Gruwell, projecting a January 2013 start date for the one-year diploma program.
The board approved the new program and also heard testimony from nontraditional students who have benefitted from their programs at the Algona campus.
Bess Wilkin told how in 1990 she was one semester away from a bachelor of science in nursing but put her academic career on hold to start a family. While she has put her professional training to use as director of nursing for Exceptional Opportunities in Burt, a fire destroyed her college records in California which meant she had to start her college career over from scratch.
However, she has found her college experience at Iowa Lakes greatly rewarding.
"I'm not just a number. I'm not just a record," Wilkin said.
"You have a stellar, stellar faculty," said Wilkin. "The community college fills a vital gap. You make it affordable for everybody. It's so important."
Similar testimony came from Annette Hawkins who has been working on her RN degree at Iowa Lakes since 2009.
"It's opened my eyes up that I can do anything I want to," said Hawkins, who drove truck over the road for 10 years but always dreamt of being an RN.
Hawkins is also a student senator at the Algona campus.