FOREST CITY, Iowa - North Iowa high school students will soon be able to get hands-on experience towards a future career.
During a public ceremony Monday morning, ground was officially broken on the John V. Hanson Career Center. As part of a partnership between NIACC, high school students from the Forest City, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Lake Mills and North Iowa school districts will be able to participate four academy programs at the center: advanced manufacturing, construction trades, information technology, and health careers.
At the ceremony, NIACC President Dr. Steve Schulz highlighted how these core programs will be hyper-focused towards not only students, but also employers.
"Learning experiences are built into each one of the academies, providing students the opportunity of working in local businesses, and providing the employers the opportunity to mentor and interview students along the way."
Forest City Mayor Barney Ruiter was on hand for Monday's groundbreaking. He says the center is a plus for his town, as it can foster job creation.
"You need that new generation to come up and take on these jobs. not everybody wants to go to a big name university and become a doctor, so this gives them an opportunity close at hand here to fulfill their dreams too."
In addition, Ruiter believes the center could also attract and retain job seekers to the area.
"Forest City's on the map because of Winnebago and 3M. NIACC's coming here now, we're here, we're here to stay, we're going to grow and look towards the future."
The center will be located on Crystal Lake Road, just to the west of Winnebago Industries, in the city's industrial park. The center's namesake John V. Hanson, the former President of Winnebago and now the director of the Hanson Family Foundation, contributed financially to the project, along with revenue from the bond referendum that was passed by voters earlier this year, and a $1 million grant from the Iowa Department of Education.
The center is expected to open by next fall.