Partnerships Make it Possible

Northeast Iowa Community College and nine school districts are working together to engage high school students more fully in their own learning. The school districts are partners with the College in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) – Engineering program, where students engage in open-ended problem solving, learn and apply the engineering design process, and use the same industry-leading technology and software of the world’s top companies.  

The College purchases instructional materials for PLTW Engineering, uses the curriculum and helps advise the high school instructors teaching the courses. Courses include such as Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Computer Science Principles, Digital Electronics and others. High school teachers implement PLTW Engineering using an innovative, dynamic teaching model, where students work in teams on open-ended problems that require critical thinking skills.

Students are thrilled to earn high school and college credit in PLTW Engineering and to employ teamwork to solve a problem, whether the situation calls for troubleshooting a computer coding glitch or getting an automated, self-propelled robot to follow commands. 

“I like being able to find a solution to a problem, especially while working with a team and using teamwork. I’m learning problem-solving skills and other skills that are not only useful in engineering, but later in life,” expressed Caleb Opfer, a senior at Waukon High School.

Participating school districts include Allamakee, Decorah, Eastern Allamakee, Howard-Winneshiek, North Fayette Valley, Oelwein, South Winneshiek, West Delaware and West Dubuque. 

For more information on PLTW Engineering, contact Lisa Digman, PLTW director and NICC engineering technology instructor, at digmanli@nicc.edu.


“I like being able to find a solution to a problem, especially while working with a team and using teamwork. I’m learning problem-solving skills and other skills that are not only useful in engineering, but later in life.” 

Caleb Opfer
Waukon High School Senior


I’m a big fan of the Principles of Engineering class because it teaches problem-solving skills and collaboration with other students on design.

Micah Treptau
Waukon High School Senior