SPIRIT LAKE - The trustees of Iowa Lakes Community College met in Spirit Lake Tuesday afternoon and learned of a new program which provides financial assistance to individuals who are under-employed and want to upgrade their skills.
Shauna Donovan, business programmer for Iowa Lakes, spoke to the trustees about the new GAP tuition funding. Through funding from the Iowa Legislature, the GAP program provides tuition assistance for non-credit programs which are considered 'in demand' jobs as determined by area employment needs. At Iowa Lakes, the programs include Certified Nurse Aid (CNA), Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced EMT, Medication Aide, Activity Coordinator, Class A CDL/Truck Driving and Welding.
"So far, our biggest success has been our CNA program," said Donovan. "The certificates approved for GAP are 'in demand' careers. These candidates are getting their certificates and walking out the door and finding positions - most of them locally."
To be eligible to receive the funding, an applicant must have an income that does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines; must complete an application and provide income verification; take the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC); and interview someone who is currently working in his or her field of interest.
Donovan reported that other career certificates - such as Computer Technology, Office Technology and Graphic Design - are being developed with a target date of fall for implementation.
Bob L'Heureux, vice president of administration, discussed several items with the trustees. A public hearing was held and the trustees approved a resolution authorizing and approving the preliminary official statement for a capital loan note to be used for the renovation of the Sustainable Energy Resource Technology (SERT) building on the Estherville campus. The building will house the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program and the new Water Quality program as well as industry training.
In addition, tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 college year were approved by the trustees. Student tuition for Iowa (and Minnesota) residents will be $149 per credit hour. Non-residents and international students will pay $160 per credit hour. Mandatory fees are not changing. Fees for various programs were adjusted as needed.
And, L'Heureux received approval to use a firm to provide external management of the college's computer networking system.
Mark Gruwell, executive dean of instruction and development, presented a list of 564 graduates from spring commencement and it was officially approved by the trustees. The board also approved an agreement with Wind Academy Turkey to provide industrial, non-credit, train-the-trainer education to wind technicians from the Republic of Turkey.
And, Gruwell presented a list of applications for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Scale-Up grants which was approved by the Trustees. The Northwest Iowa STEM Hub received 270 applications - out of nearly 900 statewide - for Scale-Up fund projects. The Northwest STEM Advisory Board met in late April to evaluate the applications and make the funding decisions which were presented to the trustees Tuesday. All recipients have been notified and a list of the accepted applications is posted online at www.iowalakes.edu/stem/. Funding of all grants for FY 14 is pending legislative approval.
Delaine Hiney, executive director of facilities management, received permission from the trustees to request quotes for new welding equipment which is being purchased through the IowaAdvanced Manufacturing (I-AM) grant which is using U.S. Department of Labor funds from the Trade Adjustment Act Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) federal grant.
She also updated the board on progress to demolish the old swine facility at the Farm Laboratory while recycling as much material as possible and following Department of Natural Resources policies and procedures.
In other business, Hiney shared that the college can save about $8,000 by placing a steel exterior on the SERT building in Estherville instead of using expensive paint.
Also during the meeting, the trustees accepted a piece of property at Gateway North in Spencer which had been given back to the college from a former owner.
Jolene Rogers, executive director of institutional advancement, gave a review of the process of awarding scholarships this past spring. She also outlined upcoming events which include the Kossuth County Golf event at Spring Valley Course in Livermore on June 7; the Clay County Golf Outing at the Spencer Golf and Country Club June 14; and the Dickinson County Luau at Parks Marina on June 20.
The college trustees also reviewed - and approved - the new district boundaries for the board which is required every 10 years following the release of new census data.
The next meeting of the Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees will be Tuesday, June 18 at the Spencer campus of Iowa Lakes.