EICC awarded $7.5 million to prepare the next generation of environmental workers



Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) has received a $7.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to move forward with the creation of the EARTh Center—an exciting stepping-stone for a growing industry. 

The new EARTh Center will be one of only a handful of NSF centers across the nation. The Center builds off of EICC’s prior Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), one of the first original NSF Advanced Technology Education centers. This exciting, new initiative aims to provide state-of-the-art research, curriculum and educational experiences for students around the country and here in our community.


The National Science Foundation is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. NSF was created to support basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.

  • With an annual budget of $8.5 billion (FY 2021), the NSF funds approximately 25% of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.
  • At present, NSF has a total workforce of about 2,100 at its Alexandria, VA, headquarters.
  • The NSF is tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from astronomy to zoology.
  • The research is fully integrated with education so that today's revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow's top scientists and engineers.




Environmental technology careers apply the principles of math, science, technology, engineering, communication, economics and law to ensure the health and safety of workers, communities and protection of the environment. The industry encompasses the management and conservation of natural resources, regulatory compliance and sustainability.

Jobs in the environmental technology field include emergency preparedness, air pollution, water and wastewater management, regulatory compliance, energy, sustainability and natural resources and conservation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that many careers in this sector will experience faster than average growth in the next 10 years.


Over the next five years, the EARTh Center will collaborate with industries including government and public agencies, professional organizations, two-year and four-year colleges, as well as high schools from across the country, to create training for environmental technology careers and provide professional development opportunities for educators.

EICC, in conjunction with the National Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE) and the Nahant Marsh Educational Center (NMEC), will drive this initiative. A wide variety of experts from community colleges, universities, and industry from across the United States will also serve on the leadership team, directly reflecting the broad reach of the EARTh Center.

Questions? Contact us toll-free at 1-888-336-3907 or email eiccinfo@eicc.edu for more information.