Bodine Electric was recently awarded the Workplace Success Award from Iowa’s Department of Education for their efforts in supporting numerous training and workforce preparation programs at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC).
Bodine Electric Company collaborated with NICC to develop training and education programs aimed specifically at technical jobs that require more education than a high-school diploma, but less than full college degree. According to the company’s Executive Vice President, Jeff Bodine, there is a significant gap in the educational makeup of the Iowa workforce. “Middle-skill jobs such as CNC machinist and industrial maintenance technician represent 56 percent of Iowa’s employment needs, yet only 33 percent of Iowa’s workers have the skills to fill these critical occupations,” he said during the award ceremony.
Bodine worked closely with NICC to bring this idea to life. The company donated equipment, developed and reviewed curriculum, and along with other local employers worked with the program advisory board to ensure graduates would be well positioned for success after graduation. Currently, the company is working with NICC to expand the curriculum to include a non-credit mechatronics specialist certificate.
Not only are more positions available to these students, but they have the opportunity to choose where they would like to start. Bodine’s program allowed NICC students to shadow current employees, tour the plant itself, and apply for internships immediately after graduation. Bodine also sponsored recent graduates from the NICC program with a hands-on 2-week training program. According to Dubuque’s Telegraph Herald, ninety-three percent of recent program participants found employment since graduation.
Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck stated that this training effort highlights Bodine’s long-term commitment to the Peosta/Dubuque area. Instead of ‘switching gears’ and moving their plant elsewhere, “Bodine tackled its worker shortage by partnering with local educational institutions to elevate the entire community.”
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