Do you want to see an incredible return on your investment by earning a college degree and finding high-paying employment?

Ashley Pottebaum, a 2016 graduate of Northeast Iowa Community College’s Gas Utility Construction and Service program, completed her diploma in nine months. After losing her customer service call center job in 2009, Pottebaum enrolled at NICC to do something more hands-on, find high-paying employment and job security, and care for her family. An Alliant Energy Foundation Scholarship and a federal Pell Grant supported her education at the College.

“It turned out to be a blessing to lose my customer service job because it led me to Northeast Iowa Community College and a new career that would support my family. I enrolled in the NICC program and loved it. Now I have a great job, earning more than $26 an hour! It is awesome that you can go to college for a year and earn this much. My life completely changed,” Pottebaum expressed.

Now the graduate works full-time for Q3, a utility firm based in Little Canada, Minn., with offices across the U.S. Her pipefitting and gas line fusing work takes her to locations throughout eastern Iowa.

“I was offered a job on the last day of class at NICC. There are great opportunities for women in the gas utility industry in Iowa, and especially when you consider the amount of time and money spent to complete the degree, and the money and benefits you receive working full-time in this career,” she said.

At 28 years of age, Pottebaum has a career in the local natural gas energy industry with opportunities for advancement, benefits and no student loan debt. Learn more about the NICC gas utility program at!