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Northeast Iowa Community College creates renewable energy program to meet workforce needs

Posted: Wed, Mar 21, 2018 10:36 AM

In response to growing needs for skilled workers, Northeast Iowa Community College has developed a Renewable Energy diploma program to open at its Calmar and Peosta campuses in fall 2018.

College officials worked closely with business and industry leaders in the development of program curriculum to match workforce needs.

NICC also received a grant from the Iowa Energy Center to grow the renewable energy instruction capacity of high school teachers in the College's district. The teachers will introduce their students to renewable energy career pathways available in northeast Iowa. The renewable energy field in Iowa continues to expand and is here to stay, according to the dean of career and technical education Christopher Carlson.
"Starting pay in these fields is approximately $25.00/hour to start with basic experience or a nine-month diploma. Northeast Iowa Community College is promoting energy fields, including renewable, because they are among the most lucrative fields we have for prospective graduates right now. Our discussions with industry leaders indicates that that positions in energy fields may exceed $80,000, with overtime, for skilled graduates," Carlson emphasized.

Much of the new Renewable Energy program will be delivered in a hybrid (online and face-to-face) format for students enrolled in the two-semester program.

Industry partners, including Winneshiek Energy District, see the benefit of the College's Renewable Energy program as companies large and small continue to diversify their employees' skills sets. Energy planner Joel Zook said, "Winneshiek Energy District is an advocate for renewable energy and efficiencies, and the impact it can make on the local economy through cost savings, especially for farmers. Having this training available from our community college is definitely a plus for the Winneshiek County economy."

More information about the new program at Northeast Iowa Community College is available at