A talented workforce, equipped with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in jobs today and in the future, is necessary for success in economic development. Because of the essential role that Hawkeye Community College plays in our economy, ensuring that our students prepare for 21st Century careers, the Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber has endorsed the Hawkeye Community College proposed bond issue to be voted on February 3.
Workforce Needs Are Changing – Hawkeye Delivers For Us
Our investment in modern facilities and career education programs at Hawkeye, funded through this bond referendum, is a sound one, and one that promises good returns for the entire area. Students of all ages, learning in-demand skills, with state of the art equipment and top-flight, experienced faculty delivers graduates who are in demand in the job market, earning higher wages, and creating more disposable income to support our local businesses. Given Hawkeye’s stellar reputation for delivering on the promise of well-educated students, who are from and stay in the Cedar Valley after graduation to work and live, we can predict with confidence that this $25 million investment will be returned to our economy many times over.
It’s impressive to note that Hawkeye serves more than 18,000 people each year throughout the entire Cedar Valley economic area. A recent survey shows 94% of Hawkeye’s graduates stay in Iowa to work and raise their families. That’s important since a majority of quality job openings in our economy require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.
There’s No Additional Cost
The Alliance & Chamber is always aware that capital projects and programs of public entities impact the tax burden of our businesses and homeowners. You should know that a ‘yes’ vote will not result in any tax rate changes. Since an existing levy is ending, approving this multi-phase program will be paid for with a levy equal to the existing one in place. The price is about $1 per month for our average household to deliver the next generation of career preparation and training for our students.
Hawkeye’s Proposal Benefits The Cedar Valley
The revival of manufacturing is one of the brightest spots in the American economy, and the Cedar Valley is all about modern, advanced manufacturing. We need to train our young people in important skill areas, such as computer controlled machining and 3D printing/additive manufacturing, and other advanced methods in design, materials, production systems, and logistics – all supporting our broad manufacturing base. These are very good jobs.
Hawkeye’s plan to expand its participation in high school career academies is an important part of this bond referendum. Career academies bridge high school students to community college career programs and introduce students to rewarding, high-paying career tracks. For some students, access to these career programs keeps them in school. And these programs are effective conduits to continuing, higher education, and the life-long learning habit.
The word “crisis” is frequently used by healthcare providers planning for the future needs of our state. Job projections point to 3,000 new healthcare openings in Iowa over the next five years. This bond referendum will give Hawkeye the ability to provide more advanced training in medical technologies and sciences. Under this proposal, Hawkeye plans to build a health sciences technology center which will allow the College to expand its healthcare offerings and simulation technology.
State of the Art and Efficient
Additionally, the plan calls for Hawkeye Community College to close two older, outdated buildings and combines them into one flexible, state of the art facility. This provides notable energy savings and operational efficiencies. And the new construction will put more Cedar Valley contractors to work on an important new structure serving our students.
Your Bottom Line Depends on This Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: passing the bond referendum for Hawkeye Community College provides our whole area important benefits in education, skills training, higher graduation rates, and job retraining, allowing more of our local residents to fill higher paying, advanced technology jobs across the spectrum of business and industry. A yes vote does not mean a greater tax burden than is already paid, but it does mean that Hawkeye Community College can continue its efforts to make education affordable and effective. Please consider a yes vote for the Hawkeye bond referendum on February 3.
Steven J. Dust CEcD
Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber