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Commentary: NIACC serves business, education communities

Commentary: NIACC serves business, education communities

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As an economic development director, I could not do what we do without our partners. One of the biggest partners we have is NIACC and the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. I have worked with them for over five years as an economic development director and several years as a parent and years ago as a student.

NIACC college’s business and industry training programs are utilized by a number of our Hancock County businesses. NIACC can customize business training services that enhance employee skills, assists in their professional growth, and increases your organization’s efficiency and productivity regardless of size of business.

In some cases, these trainings can be offset with financial assistance. These programs have proven to be a successful tool in recruiting businesses and new jobs to Hancock County. Since 2015, NIACC’s business and training partnership has supported the creation of 1,600 jobs in our region through the 260E New Jobs Training Agreements and they have customized training to over 800 students through the 260F Job Training Agreements. Both of these programs generated $37.5 million in business trainings for employers and their workers in our North Iowa region since 2000. For Hancock County, this means larger contributions to the tax base which increases consumer spending power and generates more revenue for local businesses.

When I have a person who is interested in starting a business or taking over a business, one of my first steps is to set up a meeting with the Pappajohn Center. The team at the Pappajohn Center will meet with my client at no cost. The Center can offer suggestions on business plans, financials’ or partnerships to make our clients dream become a reality or save them time and money. Our goal is to provide the tools needed for business success because no one wins when a business is not successful.

As a parent of 3 children who utilized NIACC H.S. Concurrent Enrollment, I know firsthand the savings in our children’s college education. So far, North Iowa students and families have saved over $2 million in college costs annually through H.S. concurrent enrollment. Also, 35% of Area 2 high school graduates attend NIACC, 80% of NIACC graduates stay in Iowa, and 12,120 alumni live within 30 miles of Mason City. For Economic Development, it is so vital to show our children or grandchildren what great career paths are available right here, and that we want them to stay and grow our workforce in Hancock County.

Please join me in casting a “YES” vote for NIACC’s bond levy on March 3rd, 2020, or by absentee ballot prior to Election day. The bond levy is based on a homeowner’s assessed property tax valuation and it is a nominal contribution when you consider the benefit our community college provides for Economic Development and for Hancock County generally. A homeowner with property assessed at $100,000 will pay approximately $0.85 cents per month, or $10.17 per year, toward NIACC’s fund to replace, repair, and upgrade college buildings and technology. If we don’t pass the bond levy, our kids and businesses may go somewhere else that is making their community college a priority!

In the 100 year history of NIACC, this is its first bond levy request. Monies raised through this process will ensure continued support of the Hancock County residents and businesses who are served by NIACC every year.

Please VOTE YES!

Jill Kramer is the executive director of Hancock County Economic Development

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