April is Community College Month. It’s been an extraordinary year for Clinton Community College. We have navigated the challenges of an ongoing global pandemic and a derecho that hit our service area hard. We have found new ways to deliver our curriculum, and we have continued to help our students succeed and transfer to four-year institutions and enter the workforce with the skills necessary to participate in a 21st century economy.
On behalf of all our faculty, staff and leadership, I want to thank the voters of Clinton and Jackson counties for their support in achieving the passage of our bond referendum. This important vote of confidence enables us to expand our career and technical programs and facilities to better serve not only our high school students, but also recent high school grads and adults in our communities that are seeking education and training that lead to great jobs and exciting careers. An amazing 88% of Clinton County voters approved the referendum, demonstrating our shared goal of providing equitable access to high quality education and training opportunities to all the residents of our service area.
I also want to recognize the vision and commitment of our Clinton and Jackson county superintendents and school districts. All eight districts have made a 10-year commitment to partnering in our Career Academies. This is proof of our ability to do the hard work and to accomplish great things. This is an ambitious effort, a significant investment, and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a difference in our communities.
I would also like to thank all the voters of our Eastern Iowa Community Colleges service area. The bond referendum to support expanding career and technical education was approved with more than 70 percent of the voters districtwide supporting the measure.
The economic development and future of Eastern Iowa depends on a skilled workforce. Sixty-five percent of the jobs in our region require education and training beyond high school. Expanding career and technical education throughout the region, especially in our rural communities, increases access and opportunities for Eastern Iowans to build the skills necessary for today’s competitive markets. The opportunities in our service area will be amazing. High School students and community members will be able to participate in proposed programs, including Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics, Agriculture, Agriculture Mechanics and Diesel Technology, Allied Health and Nursing, Automotive Technology, Business, Construction Technology and Management, Criminal Justice, Education, Engineering Technology, Information Technology, and Welding.
I am excited to be a part of Clinton Community College at this transformative time. Remember that nearly half of all American undergraduates go to community college. This experience provides smaller class sizes, high-quality instruction, and cost savings. Additionally, half of all people who get bachelor’s degrees start their college education at a community college. Our outstanding faculty and student-centered practices allow transfer students to complete at levels greater or equal to those who start at four-year institutions.
In a time when we honor and recognize the commitment of our first responders, nearly 80% of first responders (police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians) receive their training at community colleges. More than 50% of new nurses and health care workers also started their training at our nation’s community colleges.
During a difficult year, our faculty and staff, alongside a tremendous and supportive community, have made significant progress in our shared vision. Thank you for sharing that vision. We look forward to providing equitable opportunities for everyone to participate in the future.
Happy Community College Month!
We hope to see you soon.