Celebrate the value of community college

To the editor:

April is Community College Month. I have the privilege to serve as a Trustee of our Community College, Indian Hills.

Our community is 10 counties from Wayne Community Schools in the southwest to Harmony Community Schools in the southeast.

The northern boundaries are from Keota Community Schools in the northeast to Chariton Community Schools in the northwest. That is our community and Indian Hills is our college.

Community colleges are the best option to train the workforce of Iowa. In 1983, 28 percent of the jobs in our nation?s economy required a post-high school education.

In 2018, 68 percent of the jobs in this economy require post-high school training. The Iowa Legislature recently passed Future Ready Iowa. The governor and Legislature have set a goal that by 2025, 70 percent of working adults will have post-high school certificates or diplomas.

Community colleges are the engine by which this goal will be reached so students can join the global economy as high skilled workers. Advanced manufacturing jobs, airline pilots, truck drivers, welders, laser technicians, robotic technicians, nurses, diesel mechanics, automobile technicians, dental assistants and dental hygienists are just a few of the new economy jobs that are in demand and the training is available at our community college. Students can attend classes in these courses in Centerville or Ottumwa or many students take equally rigorous classes online.

For the students in high school, college classes are available to take at little or no cost which accounts for one of the best bargains for the parents and students who want to pursue further formal education. College credit can be earned without borrowing money.

All of this is offered at our community college. Our community college has taken college to the communities with Career Academies in Sigourney, Albia, Oskaloosa and Corydon where students can stay in their communities and earn college credit or industry-approved certificates as candidates for high-paying jobs in our community.

We should celebrate the valuable resource that our community has developed. Businesses get a high quality trained workforce. Students get training to compete in the new economy and the community gets citizens who work, live, raise families and keep our community vital and populated. We are all winners by having our community college in our community.


? Richard Gaumer, Trustee, Indian Hills Community College