Career Advancement Centers and Renovations To Bring New Opportunities in 2023
Simmering soups, virtual welders, auto lifts, and more were on full display as hundreds of people soaked in the sights, sounds, and smells of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ (EICC) brand new Clinton Career Advancement Center late last year. The grand opening event kicked off a series of construction milestones slated to continue into 2023.
“When we think about equity, belonging, and inclusion, how do we ensure that everyone has an equal chance to participate in the future?” Clinton Community College (CCC) President Brian Kelly asked during opening remarks. “One way we can do that is by providing opportunities within our community like this career advancement center. This is a celebration of leadership and this is a celebration of vision.”
It’s a vision that was made possible in March of 2021 thanks to strong support of more than 70% of district voters, who passed a $40 million bond to fund multiple projects across the district. While 2022 marked a year full of contractors, equipment, and sawdust, 2023 will bring more grand openings, community celebrations, and beautiful new facilities designed to better serve EICC students. Here’s the latest on EICC’s growth!
Clinton Career Advancement Center
Located across the street from CCC’s main campus building, the $9 million, 26,700 sq. ft. facility supports career and technical education training with multipurpose laboratories, classrooms, faculty offices, and a large, common area. The building opened in fall 2022 and is currently offering hands-on courses to high school students through the college’s Career Academies. Programs include Agriculture, Automotive Technology, Construction Technology, Culinary, Engineering Technology, Education, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Welding Technology. Beyond serving students, the new center is designed with the needs of business and industry at top of mind. Local employers played an important role in every phase of the project, from participating in forums to helping develop course curriculum.
“Workforce is on the tip of everyone’s tongue,” said Andy Sokolovich, President and CEO of Grow Clinton. “I don’t know if you have seen the billboards around town, but I am pretty sure everyone is hiring. In order to ensure that employers have the adequate skill sets they need to be successful — now, immediately, and in the future — we have to create pipelines. Pipelines of young professionals who come to facilities just like this to feed the needs of our local employers. That’s where our bread is buttered.”
Muscatine Career Advancement Center
Excitement for this building is growing as electrical equipment continues to arrive. The $X million facility is located right next to Strahan Hall on the Muscatine Community College (MCC) campus, and will bring brand-new programs to the community. Among the new offerings is Automotive Technology, Criminal Justice, Construction, HVAC, and expanded healthcare labs that will support more disciplines.
Interest in healthcare programs, especially among students enrolled in the college’s high school Career Academies, has been growing. While existing buildings support EMS, CNA, Medical Assistant, and a Practical Nursing diploma program, space is limited.
“When we formed the healthcare high school Career Academy, it really blew up,” said Jeremy Pickard, Dean of Instruction. “We had roughly 40 students enrolled and there’s been a lot of interest. The new facility will allow us to grow our programs and provide learning spaces with the latest technology.” The healthcare labs include rooms that look just like a doctor’s office, spacious classrooms, and four simulation rooms complete with full-body patient simulators that mimic human anatomy and physiology. And that’s just in the healthcare space — each lab includes the latest tech in the field. For example, criminal justice students will learn using a VirTra Training Simulator, a small firearms and decision-making trainer. And the auto tech lab is being outfitted with lifts, computers, and tools.
DeWitt Career Advancement Center
As the aforementioned Career Advancement Centers were welcoming students or entering the final phases of construction, another was beginning its journey with golden shovels, airborne dirt, and rounds of applause. EICC’s leaders, partners, local officials, and community members celebrated the official groundbreaking of CCC’s new DeWitt Career Advancement Center in October 2022 — even signing the final steel beam of the structure. In attendance were several high school students from Calamus-Wheatland who currently take concurrent courses with EICC. Many of the students emphasized their excitement for the opportunities the DeWitt location will provide.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to get hands-on experience and have the college experience while I am still in high school,” said junior Courtney Knoche, who is interested in studying ag business and communication. “It’s exciting to have this here in DeWitt. I want to stay in Iowa and would love to stay close to my hometown, and this is a great opportunity to learn and grow in my hometown.”
The 26,000 sq. ft. facility will support programs in Agriculture, Business, CNC Machining, Construction Technology, Healthcare, and Information Technology. It is expected to open this year.
Scott Community College Health Sciences Center and New Student Commons
While new buildings have been going up across the district, Scott Community College (SCC) has been hard at work renovating and adding on to existing spaces with two major projects. The first, funded by the bond, includes the renovation and expansion of the allied health/nursing wing into a new Health Sciences Center. Bringing all the nursing and allied health programs together in one campus location will enable students to interact and collaborate with their peers, as they will in the real-world. Plans include upgraded and expanded classrooms and nursing simulation labs, a new surgical lab and a dental lab. Students will have the opportunity to master techniques on the same equipment used in a dental office or an operating room.
“They will be able to learn ways to treat a patient from all different angles. They
will get more hands-on experience
while learning industry best practices,” said Dawn Boettcher, EICC’s dean of health programs.
The second project is a new student commons area that will transform the front entrance of campus and provide a one-stop shop for enrollment services.
“Our new student commons will provide students a convenient and centralized location for advising, registering for classes, getting help with their financial aid, and buying their books. They will no longer have to travel to different ends of the building to take care of their needs before getting to the important work of attending classes and learning new skills,” said Ann Lawler, SCC President.
A testing center and welcoming study spaces are also included in the work, which is underway right now.