Iowa Central Announces Launch of Pilot Program That Focuses on Keeping

Iowa Central Community College will launch a new pilot program to increase recruitment and retention focusing on in-state jobs.

The college press release states, “The Early College Success Program with Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates aims to boost workforce in statewide high-demand occupations.
The ECSP will start in August as a tailored collaboration between Iowa Central and iJAG, a statewide
nonprofit organization that typically partners with Iowa’s secondary school districts to deliver career
development in classrooms. Iowa Central will be the only postsecondary institution to implement the
iJAG Early College Success Program model.
Iowa Central and iJAG will target a select group of students along with iJAG students who need
additional competency-based career support for transitioning from high school to postsecondary/career
training during years one and two of enrollment for high-demand occupations requiring a 2-year degree.
A highly trained and qualified Career Success Coordinator will work in the high school and on campus to
implement programming alongside the school district staff and Iowa Central faculty. The curriculum will
feature career readiness, on-the-job earn and learn, projects with employers, tailored career counseling,
brain health support and more. Part of this program will be building a pipeline of students receiving
college credit while in high school and ensuring they have a career pathway into high-demand
occupations.
“For 24 years, we’ve been able to prove that our program model works for students in grades six
through twelve plus the one year following graduation,” said iJAG President & CEO Dr. Wendy Mihm-
Herold. “We want to continue our momentum beyond high school graduation and this pilot program
will propel us to expand our reach to meet the needs of students who continue in postsecondary
institutions across Iowa. We look forward to working closely with Iowa Central to leverage proven

strategies that positively impact student engagement and performance, employer services and career
preparedness to help young people discover, plan and prepare for a future employment in Iowa.”
“We want students to come to Iowa Central, finish their degrees and certifications in the shortest
amount of time, with the least amount of student loan debt possible, so they can have a better life. Iowa
community colleges are the statewide leader in workforce training and development. We are proud to
partner with iJAG, who has a track record of success in increasing retention and graduation rates, to
bring those services to students at Iowa Central to increase their potential to have a better life,” said Dr.
Jesse Ulrich, President, Iowa Central Community College.
According to the Retaining Iowa’s Talent Report released by the Iowa Workforce Development in
February 2024, there is a need for solutions like ECSP to help drive in-state jobs. In the Report, 4,260
college students were surveyed and the results showed the following:
● 40.8% will stay in Iowa after graduation; whereas 38% claim they will leave the state. ECSP at
Iowa Central will uniquely connect every participant to in-state employers and job
opportunities.
○ Of those who plan to stay in Iowa after graduation (1,738 students), 82.2% know what
occupation they want to pursue. ECSP at Iowa Central will help students gain certainty
and confidence in their career choice through tailored career and academic counseling,
on-the-job learning and training, employer mentorships and more.

● Approximately 83.3% will consider employment opportunities when choosing to live in-state
or out-of-state. ECSP at Iowa Central will feature engagements with local, regional and
statewide employers. Currently, iJAG has relationships with employers statewide.
● Students enrolled at a community college are more likely to stay in Iowa; 19.5% more likely
than those who attend a private four-year college and 23.4% more likely than those who
attend a public four-year university. Based on the study, Iowa Central recognizes they can
continue to serve as a leader for improved in-state retention.
Programs such as ECSP at Iowa Central have the potential to improve graduation rates. If Iowa Central
were to double its graduation rates, the benefits could include a $6.6 million increase in additional
revenue for the school, the creation of 2,860 more jobs across the region, and an annual increase of
$152.9 million in the local economy.”

 

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