Putting the Hire in Higher Education

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When it comes to earning a college degree, most everyone wants assurance that there will be a viable, interesting career as a return on this investment—and that they’ll be prepared for career success.

Key to making this happen is a three-tiered relationship involving not only students and instructors, but also area employers. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges programs are a combination of hands-on training, state-of-the art equipment and strong employer-college partnerships which culminate in college degrees that put the “hire” in higher education.

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Building on co-op experience

Diesel Technology –
Dohrn Transfer, Rock Island

DohrnEICCKeepingtheHire

Pictured here with Sandra Rose-Brown, Manager of Fleet Maintenance for Dohrn Transfer Company (foreground) are two SCC Diesel Technology program graduates (Tom Oremdorf and Adam Bousman) and two current students with the program (Sean Coons in the back and Austin Becker on the right).

There’s nothing like working with an actual customer to give a college student the experience they need to enter the work world.  Dohrn Transfer in Rock Island has been working with the Scott Community College (SCC) Diesel Technology program to provide curriculum input AND direct work experience for the program students for the past 5 years – giving students a chance to take responsibility for a job from beginning to end. “These students are really anxious to be in the workforce and make an honest effort to learn everything we want to teach them,” explains Sandra-Rose Brown, Manager of Fleet Maintenance with Dohrn.  “We feel this enhances their education by being able to see the application of what they are learning on a daily basis,’ she adds.  “In return, we get to work with new students and shape them from the beginning on our maintenance practices.  We have gained several valuable employees from this partnership.”

Sandra also serves on the program’s Advisory Board, contributing to course development and curriculum.  It’s a big investment on Dohrn’s part, so why do it?  “In addition to the obvious benefit of having the mechanics here and working, we get to cultivate the mechanic workforce for the future,” says Sandra.  “The chance to shape these mechanics at this stage of their career is extremely valuable to us!”

Customer service comes first

Business and Marketing –
Central State Bank, Muscatine

Central State Bank MCC

Robert Howard, President and CEO of Central State Bank, poses with a group of both former MCC grads and current MCC students who are part of the team at Central State Bank.

Banking and financial services are so much more than just working with numbers, says Bob Howard, President and CEO of Central State Bank in Muscatine, IA.  “We look for employees with an outgoing personality and a natural tendency toward customer service,” he notes.  “We can teach many aspects of ‘banking’, but outstanding customer services must come naturally.”  Over the years, Central State Bank has employed a large number of MCC graduates.  They’ve also worked with students still undertaking their studies at MCC.  “We work to accommodate their schedules so they can continue to take classes.  Because of the extended hours at our HyVee branch location, that can be a good fit for students and for us,” he explains.  Central State Bank’s commitment goes farther than that, though, with the bank’s Director of Human Resources serving on the Business Advisory Council for MCC.  “This allows us some insight and recommendations on coursework offerings that are important to us as an employer in the area,” says Bob.  At this time, Central State Bank has close to 10 MCC graduates working for the bank, with another 3 who are currently enrolled in classes at the college.  “We feel that it is very important to have an institution such as MCC in our community,” adds Bob.

Building on Mutual Benefits

Engineering Technology –
ADM, Clinton Iowa Plant

“Like the rest of the U.S., area industry here in the Clinton region will lose a number of skilled workers in the next few years, “ explains Bryce Albrechtsen, Human Resource Manager with ADM in Clinton.  “We need to replace them with qualified workers who can make our operations run effectively while driving for continuous improvement.”  One of the ways to insure that continuity is to work with Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, he adds.  “In recent years we have worked to strengthen our partnership with EICC.  We now offer scholarships, have a manager who serves on the Sharar Foundation Board at Clinton Community College, and have even had a CCC faculty member spend a week over the summer with us to better understand our needs,” says Bryce.  “The primary benefit to ADM is hiring capable employees with the technology skills and work ethic we are looking for in our staff members.”  That includes not just basic skills in terms of equipment maintenance and instrumentation, but also in the ‘soft skills’ of employment like integrity, a passion for excellence and the ability to share ideas and work effectively with others.  “The graduates we have hired from the new Engineering Technology program and from other programs at EICC have been capable and are excellent employees,” notes Bryce.  “I believe we have just scratched the surface of the mutual benefits that our partnership could create for students and for ADM in the future.”

It’s Not Just About Degree-Seeking Students

Retraining for Current Employees –
Midfield Pattern Corporation, Walcott

MidfieldEICCKeepingtheHire

Jake Worden, owner of Midfield Pattern Corporation, and two Midfield staff members – Matt Voss and Dick Rowold – review a CNC-made aluminum mold at their production facility.

While we frequently focus on students who are in credit programs seeking degrees, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges also provide a significant amount of support and customized training for local companies.  “I want to say THANK YOU and yes, it is capitalized for a reason,” says Jake Worden, owner of Midfield Pattern Corporation in Walcott, Iowa.  This well established company worked with EICC to receive retraining grants that allowed Midfield to provide education to their current employee base. EICC staff was then able to develop specific curriculum and training techniques to work with Midfield employees to improve productivity.   “With the training from EICC, the employees not only learned concepts, ideas and procedures, but were also instilled with a sense of pride in what they are doing,” Jake explains.  “Their training has enabled us to maximize our machines’ productivity and helped us achieve significant growth in sales.”

A great example that the right training can make a big difference to both potential AND existing employees!

Want to LEARN more about our career programs and training options?  Our website offers specific program information (including curriculum, course requirements and degree options), contact information for faculty and admissions staff, and – for a number of programs – videos featuring instructors, students and our learning facilities.

Visit our website at eicc.edu, call us at 1-888-336-3907 or email us at eiccinfo@eicc.edu.

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