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Electrical And Engineering Programs Featured During September Trustees Meeting

By Staff | Sep 27, 2016

Trustees of Iowa Lakes Community College received an update on the college’s Electrical and Engineering programs during the September meeting of the Trustees Tuesday, Sept. 20 in Estherville.

Estherville Campus Executive Dean Bob Leifeld introduced the instructors of the two programs. Doug Zemler teaches credit and non-credit electrical coursework and Chad Tischer instructs the engineering courses.

Zemler, coordinator for the Electrical Technology program, holds numerous certifications and licenses from Iowa and South Dakota in addition to national professional certifications as well. The course work prepares students to become an apprentice electrician and then take the state licensing exam upon completion of their apprenticeship. Industrial, commercial and residential electronic systems are covered in the curriculum.

According to Zemler, students are finding employment as more electricians are needed in the workplace.

The Engineering classes involve everything from robotics to networking and computer technology. Tischer explained that these core and specialized courses can lead to careers in robotics, programmable logic control or industrial automation. Instruction utilizes a great deal of problem solving skills in order to help prepare students for increasingly changing work environments

Tischer, who is a graduate of Iowa Lakes, informed the Trustees that it means a lot to be working where he once learned. “It’s a proud moment for me,” Tischer said. “This is a great school.”

Engineering Technology students Ben Erdmann of Moville and Skylar Iske of Everly, second-year students in the program, spoke about why they came to Iowa Lakes and reviewed what they are learning in class. And, both spoke highly of the instructors and how they like the courses which include a lot of hands-on learning.

In other business, Scott Stokes, Vice President of Administration addressed the Trustees about the nearly $1.7 million Title III grant which was recently announced for Iowa Lakes.

The Trustees accepted the award. Funds from the grant will allow the college to hire an Instructional Technologist to assist faculty with implementing technology in the classroom and to provide professional development opportunities for the faculty. The grant will also allow the college to improve technology in classrooms on all five campuses. The grant is expected to benefit students with increased retention and completion rates.

Jolene Rogers, Executive Director of Community and Business Relations discussed a donation in excess of $88,000 donation from the Frieda Willet Trust, which will be used for scholarships. To establish the scholaship fund, the Trustees accepted the fund which will be endowed, with 90 percent of the interest generated awarded as scholarships and 10 percent donated to the principle balance to continue to grow the fund. Scholarships will go to any full-time Iowa Lakes student with preference given to Emmet County residents who have a documented disability.

Rogers then provided year-end statistics on Continuing Education classes. Nearly 4,300 individuals participated in 653 classes. That’s up 21 percent from the previous year.

The Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) class continues to be the most in-demand program, with others completing CDL, Bookkeeper, Welding and EMT programs. Rogers reports 95 percent of those who completed are employed.

Rogers also noted that Iowa Lakes is actively responding to the Spencer D.O.T. office closing. Discussions with local and state agencies are ongoing and a plan will be announced when completed.

M.J. Dolan, the Executive Director of the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, made her annual visit to Iowa Lakes during the session. Dolan updated the Trustees on community college legislative priorities for the coming year as well as the idea for long-term sustainable community college funding.

The Trustees will meet next on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in Estherville.