Unique Programs meet Specialized Employment Need

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Two programs at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) deliver on the Future Ready Iowa promise and are among the most unique career and technical offerings available in the state of Iowa – John Deere TECH and Gas Utility Construction and Service.

The John Deere TECH program prepares students for work as a service technician at John Deere implement dealerships throughout the state. One of the program’s most unique features is its close partnership with John Deere, which virtually ensures that qualified students will have a great job waiting for them after graduation! This assurance is made possible for several reasons: an internship component at a dealership is built into the program, and each entering student must secure a John Deere sponsor. So, when students complete requirements for the two-year degree, as well as a demonstration of their skills, they are hired by the sponsoring dealership.

The Agricultural Technology building at the Calmar campus and the John Deere TECH program earned a Gold Level College of Tomorrow Award from Deere in 2016. The College completely renovated the facility by expanding and updating classrooms and hands-on lab areas, installing larger hoists for repair work and upgrading to the latest in  advanced technology.

“The renovated facility accommodates an increase in the number of students we can teach, from the 32 – 36 previously to the 44 students per year that we are now accepting,” noted Duane Bouska, John Deere TECH instructor. “We have more than 400 graduates from the John Deere TECH program in the U.S. Four instructors are devoted specifically to the program, and they are very actively involved in the students’ success. We also take advantage of the many training opportunities with John Deere to keep current with industry.”

Kathy Johnson, a human resources professional for Iowa-based Van Wall Equipment, believes that the College’s John Deere TECH program is the best conduit of talent and knowledge for company’s skilled employee needs.

“Our best plan to find a great technician is to put students and prospective employees through the John Deere TECH program at Northeast Iowa Community College. That’s how they obtain the experience we are looking for, and this is how we fill the technicians for our workforce,” Johnson said.

The Gas Utility Construction and Service program offered at the College is one of only two in the state. The program draws students and interest from employers from across Iowa and neighboring states Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska! Brett Swanson, business agent for Local Union 25 – Plumbers and Pipefitters in the Quad Cities, highlighted the College’s equipment and field training as major reasons that graduates are well-prepared for employment in the industry.

“Having the equipment on-site as part of students’ training in the Gas Utility Construction and Service program at Northeast Iowa Community College is absolutely one of its greatest strengths. I cannot say enough good things about this program,” expressed Swanson. “It’s a major program in the state of Iowa and one of the only places to recruit people with the knowledge and training needed.”

Students in the two-year John Deere TECH program earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree upon completion and are virtually guaranteed a job in the industry after graduation, earning entry-level wages of $31,388 – $43,691 in northeast Iowa. Gas Utility Construction and Service students may earn a one-year diploma, and qualified graduates can expect to earn $26,187 – $40,863 in this high-demand field.

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