Driving Workforce Solutions

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Lifelong learning is not simply a matter of getting from point A to point B.

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Business and Community Solutions understands this well in its development and delivery of training and education in the College’s 5,000-square-mile district. Business and Community Solutions, the customized training, workforce development and continuing education division at NICC, is driving our region’s workforce by engaging with clients including small and large business, individual community members wanting to advance their professional position and entrepreneurs with start-up ideas.

pg.6__MG_5786This is the local educonomy in action. The economic success of communities throughout northeast Iowa depend upon this integration between business and industry, NICC and its education partners, and our students – the workforce of today and tomorrow.

The Northeast Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the College is a partner in the grassroots success of businesses in our region. Statewide, small businesses and entrepreneurs are creating the highest percentage of new jobs every year. Iowa’s small businesses employed about half, or 637,837, of the state’s private workforce in 2012. Of the 17,768 net new jobs created by small businesses that same year, 34 percent were created by companies with fewer than 100 employees. (Source: U.S Census Bureau: Statistics of U.S. Businesses; Business Dynamics Statistics.)

This is where the Northeast Iowa SBDC comes in. The center directors can take a novel start-up business idea generated from a group of entrepreneurs and hammer out a business plan to get the operation up and running. The successful story of the Dubuque Food Co-op, an enterprising venture that opened its doors in May 2014 to fulfill the tri-state’s need for locally produced, non-processed organic food products, is a great example of this collaboration.

Visit www.nicc.edu/trainingandoutreach to realize your goals and transform your future!

“It took four and a half years for us to bring the vision of Dubuque Food Co-op to reality, and our NICC/SBDC counselor, Steve Horman, was with us from the beginning,” said Renae Gabrielson, a Co-op founder and steering committee member. “At our very first meeting with Steve, he advised us to develop a mission statement and stay true to that mission while making decisions.”

Through the Northeast Iowa SBDC, many other business owners have received training in QuickBooks accounting software, utilized the center’s consulting services and benefited from assistance with business plan writing, development and implementation. Increasing numbers of small business owners are turning to the center for its services. Northeast Iowa SBDC served 236 business clients in 2013-2014, an increase from 211 the previous fiscal year.

Serving unemployed and low income individuals through an array of job training initiatives is also generating success stories, such as the Business and Community Solutions Opportunity model launched in 2013. Now offered in Cresco, Dubuque, Manchester and Oelwein, the program helps community members grow their skills to fill job shortages of local employer partners. The training offers participants career pathway certificates in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology and transportation that lead to a family-sustaining career or transfer to diploma or degree credit programs at NICC.

In addition to partnerships with businesses, Business and Community Solutions professionals accommodate the lifelong learning needs of thousands of individual clients every year. Last year, 22,126 individual clients completed 39,014 Business and Community Solutions course registrations in areas such as healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing and career development. Clients in the trades, such as plumbers, electricians, cosmetologists, real estate and insurance professionals, also seek licensure and recertification through Business and Community Solutions. In fact, 1 in 7 northeast Iowa residents aged 18-65 were served by NICC in 2013-2014, many through Business and Community Solutions’ diverse offerings.

The educonomy mindset of collaboration and dialogue between forward-thinking job creators, education partners and clients contributes to the success of individuals, their families, businesses and communities through an atmosphere of teamwork. It’s a win-win
workforce solution.

Does your business have employee training needs or are you looking to expand? Have you decided to return to college to develop your career skills and continue your education? Business and Community Solutions will meet your needs and develop a plan that is right for you. Visit www.nicc.edu/trainingandoutreach to realize your goals and transform your future!

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