Emmet County supervisors offered Iowa Lakes Community College some well-deserved praise at Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting.
"Iowa Lakes has always been a cornerstone for this community," said supervisor Ron Smith. He was joined in his praise by board chair Alan Madden who said, "Iowa Lakes continues to anticipate what the market needs."
Both statements are exceptionally true.
For many, the closing of the Morrell's packing facility in the 1980s still remains a fresh memory that's still unhealed. That impact was devastating, particularly when you consider the number of jobs in comparison to the size of the community.
Estherville has struggled now for nearly three decades to re-create itself. The result is a far more diverse community with multiple industries and commercial enterprises, rather than a mono-economy based solely on one industry.
And Iowa Lakes has been a huge part of that. The college has provided employment and educational opportunities for local residents who have been better able to climb the career ladder. For many, the college has been the only available option for professional or vocational training.
And, as Madden said, the college continues to anticipate what market needs are. Just this past fall, the college added water quality technology and HVAC to its offerings. It's new game design program is generating a lot of excitement both locally and from afar.
College advisory committees from business and industry help keep tabs on industry trends and what's needed to meet employer needs.
It's a wonderful partnership, one of which both the college and community should be immensely proud.