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Wind program outreach to community beneficial

November 29, 2012
Estherville Daily News

Iowa Lakes Community College performed yet another great community service Thursday when it hosted Estherville Rotarians in a noon luncheon at the wind energy and turbine technology building.

Rotarians had the chance to ask program director Dan Lutat, instructors and students about the program and how it's preparing them for their future careers.

What many Rotarians - and the community at large - probably didn't realize is how strong of a draw the program has on students from not only around the country but around the world.

Students from Thailand and Turkey have attended the program, as well as through from coast to coast. After their training, they'll work internationally as well, taking their skills to the far reaches of the globe.

That's quite a ripple for a pebble that was dropped into the pond about 10 years ago.

That's about how long it's been since the program started with one instructor in a classroom. From there, it's grown into an expanded building with support in the form of cash, scholarships and equipment from wind energy companies from around the world. They recognize quality when they see it, and they see Iowa Lakes as a great place in which to invest.

Beyond that, the college plans for two new programs next fall - heating, ventilation and air conditioning and wastewater management training in the former Medieval Glass building the college acquired for expansion of its energy-related programs.

By reaching out to the public, the college is not only telling everyone about its accomplishments. It's also setting in motion a networking system in which local resources are able to help whenever possible in developing the program.

And that's how it should be - a college-community partnership that transcends any "gown and town" syndrome and instead becomes a synergy of efforts.

And we'll all benefit from that.



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