Iowa Central Community College will see an influx of new students that have a lot of life experience when classes begin Tuesday. The students are from the Electrolux Home Products plant in Webster City. The plant will close next year as the production moves to Mexico, and Iowa Central president, Dan Kinney, says they using the school to start over.
Kinney says they already have a large number of them training or retraining right now — some 300 of them — and there’ll be another influx near the start of the year, depending on when the factory closes. Kinney says the school has worked with Iowa Workforce Development to create two positions to help the workers through the process.
He says it’s directly for the workers to help them get their assistance and get their schedules set up. They have one located in Fort Dodge and one that goes back and forth between Fort Dodge and Webster City. Kinney says he’s heard the average age of the Electrolux workers is 50, but they have been used to so-called non-traditional students.
Kinney says the average age of students in community colleges is in the 30’s and these workers are coming in thinking they will be in classes with 18 and 20 year olds and are worried how they will fit in. He says that’s one of the the reasons they created the positions to help them out, and so far it hasn’t been a problem, as they’ve been embraced in the classes. Kinney says the experience of the workers is actually a plus.
He says the instructors love having someone who has been out in the workforce to talk to the younger students and it has created a good mix. The students who worked at Electrolux will be taking courses ranging from nursing to computers to biofuel technology. Iowa Central has campuses in Fort Dodge, Webster City and Storm Lake.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City