A new kind of school is in the planning in central Iowa. Des Moines Area Community College, which already has campuses in Ankeny, Boone, Carroll, Newton, Des Moines and West Des Moines — but now has the blessing of its board and Story County supporters to build a new school in Ames. President Rob Denton says this is not just another “DEE-Mack” campus.This will be a high-school “career academy,” a partnership with 7 Story County schools and a number of regional businesses. It’ll mainly train high-school students in trades like advanced manufacturing, construction, automotive, and nursing. The other DMACC campuses have a range of students from high-school graduates to immigrants learning English to adults returning to school to get skills for a career change. President Denton says this is a lot different from the “Vo-Tech” schools of a couple decades ago. He says nowadays “It IS rocket science,” as you need high levels of math, computer and science training to become a contractor or auto mechanic — jobs that, like everything else in life, have become much more complex. Denton points out the jobs pay well, and students who are interested in the vocational trades are required to take math and science in 8th, 9th and 10th grade and then when they come to the career academy, in this partnership with their schools, they’re challenged. He says it’s exciting, too. The new career academy’s planned for an industrial area on Ames’ southeast side near Dayton Avenue and could begin offering classes by the spring of 2006.
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