There’s a shortage of skilled workers in the state of Iowa, including here in Siouxland.
On Monday, a local community college showcased some of the programs helping find solutions.
A group of state lawmakers and members of the board of directors for Western Iowa Tech Community College tour a converted classroom.
“They basically tore the carpet out, ground all of the floor removed the tables and we built a mini-production facility.
Chris Sewalson is industrial maintenance coordinator for Western Iowa Tech’s Corporate College.
“When you come here there’s a true glimpse of what you see of the plant.
The training facility is a partnership with Tyson Fresh Foods.
Steve Warnstadt, is in charge of Government Relations and Special Projects for Western Iowa Tech Community College.
He says Tyson Fresh Foods made a significant investment with equipment emphasizing robotics and automation.
“That’s another area that’s in high demand across the region. The tour is about how we are helping the needs of workforce across the spectrum.”
Iowa Workforce Development estimates in 2025, 68% of jobs in the state will require education and training beyond high school.
Besides the industrial maintenance program, the college also showed off the Medical Assisting Facility.
“A program that had the highest increase enrollment of any Last Dollar Scholarship Future Ready Iowa Program. That’s one of the areas we wanted to highlight because we have a partnership with area hospitals and clinics and we’re meeting that need across the region.”
“This is what I am dedicated to, this is what I live for.”
Chris Sewalson use to work for Tyson for more than 16 years as a technician and then a trainer, before coming to work for Western Iowa Tech.
Sewalson says the first class of students actually work for Tyson. They commit to two years with the company after spending nine months in the program receiving the training they need for a successful career.
“They’re getting paid here to go to school.”
The lawmakers taking part in the tour; State Senator Jim Carlin and Representatives Tim Kaceda, Tom Jeaneary and Dan Huseman.