Iowa Western Community College planning East Mills career academy

After opening career academies in Harlan and the Missouri Valley this fall, Iowa Western Community College plans to open one in the East Mills Community School District.

District voters last year passed a bond to build a new elementary school. According to Matt Mancuso, Iowa Western’s Executive Director of Business and Community Education, the project is just underway. The current elementary school just outside Hastings will become the Career Academy’s regional center. Officials believe the center could open in 2025.

A director was hired to develop the Career Academy and additional uses for the building, he said. Areas of instruction are still under discussion, but will likely include welding and other “hard trades” such as electrical, automotive and construction technology.

East Mills is considering partnering with Sydney, Glenwood and possibly Red Oak on the academy, Mancuso said. The building could also house other community institutions and service providers. says Mancuso.

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Iowa Western is also working with Glenwood on an innovation center located on the Glenwood Resource campus, he said. The programming of that site is still under discussion. That would create more career academy options for school districts in the area, unlike those offered at the East He Mills facility. Depending on the program, Glenwood Center may also draw students from Council Bluffs.

The university’s Atlantic Center is undergoing a need assessment, Mancuso said.

“As employee needs change, Iowa Western must also adapt its college programming: credit and non-credit,” he said. “So hopefully we’ll have more information on that in the coming months.”

Iowa Western’s Shenandoah Center is in the early stages of working with Shenandoah High School to develop an HVAC program, Mancuso said.

The university opened a career academy at Shelby County Center in Harlan in August. Iowa Western already owns half of the building and purchased the other half from the city of Harlan. The center provides electromechanical training for local businesses and instruction in automotive, diesel, industrial technology, healthcare and trade.

In November, Iowa Western opened the Larry and Bunny Buss Regional Center as part of the Trivium Life Services building in Missouri Valley. The center is named after an Iowa couple who in February he donated his $300,000 to Western and established an academy in that community. The university has completed a major renovation project, part of which he purchased for $285,000.

“The generosity of Larry and Bunny Bus will enable the university to offer quality programs to students across the region,” said Chancellor Dan Kinney. “This facility will be a game changer for students who want to pursue a career and stay in the community.”

The bath donation was a key factor in the college applying for and receiving state funding to establish a new academy, he said. received $1 million from the State Career Academy Incentive Fund, created through a one-cent sales tax reauthorization for Access to Career Academy programs, focused on programming offered through regional centers. Iowa Western received his $100,000 grant from Google in May to help expand its skilled worker program.

High schools in the Missouri Valley, Tri Center, Logan Magnolia and West Harrison/West Monona Community School Districts will benefit from the establishment of the Missouri Valley Center, which will focus on agriculture, construction, electrical and welding.

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