A new job training agreement is good news for northern Iowa’s economic development.
The North Iowa Area Community College Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved final agreements with seven Northern Iowa companies to create 511 jobs using $6.75 million in bonds under the New Job Training Program Iowa industrialists. This is the largest bond sale ever for this program by the college.
“It’s really just a dedication to their employees and what they think is important and making training an important part of employment and retention,” said dean of continuing education Patti Hanson. “It’s all just the perfect mix, and it allows people to access training at no cost.”
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The seven Northern Iowa companies that have entered into definitive agreements are:
- Pure Prairie Farms in Charles City will create 224 positions and have a net training fund of $2,337,507.31.
- Stellar Industries Inc. in Garner will create 119 positions and have a net training fund of $821,304.62.
- UpTower Inc. in Saint Ansgar will create 92 positions and have a net training fund of $851,047.34.
- Centro Inc. of Hampton will create 40 positions and have a net training fund of $285,935.68.
- Rahr Bushel Boy LLC in Mason City will create 16 positions and have a net training fund of $80,440.54.
- Plas-Tech at Garner will create 10 positions and have a net training fund of $79,764.56.
- Valent Biosciences at Osage will create 10 positions and have a net training fund of $106,803.40.
“It’s just a positive sign for the economy. The challenge will be finding workers, but when businesses grow, that’s good for everyone,” Chairman Steven Schulz said.
Iowa’s New Industrial Jobs Training Program, also known as 260E, helps companies create new positions with new employee training, according to the Iowa Economic Development website. Hanson said companies must meet the requirements and belong to specific industries to be part of the program.
“When they start talking about growth, we work with them to establish their base level of employment. Any positions they add above that are eligible for this training fund are created by taking out bonds” , said Hanson.
Hanson said the 511 positions created in NIACC’s service area include a variety of job types, from human resources to manufacturing. NIACC brings professional training directly to business and provides the resources businesses need. Participants may be eligible for reimbursement of up to 50% of the approved scholarship amount for on-the-job training, according to Iowa Economic Development.
“That’s money they can take for the lower productivity of people learning to do the new job, and the other half is usually formal training,” Hanson said.
Workers have already been hired and are being trained for many of the 511 jobs created.
“They’ve already hired once we’ve established that baseline level of employment with a preliminary agreement. They can start hiring from there, and (the final agreement) just solidifies the project with them,” Hanson said.
NIACC sold $6.75 million in bonds on Monday to Northland Securities Inc., which will fund the program, according to Hanson. It is NIACC’s biggest deal under the program, with the second-highest total at $3.4 million.
According to Iowa Economic Development, “the reward amount is repaid and the bonds withdrawn by the company diverting 1.5% or 3% (depending on salary thresholds) of gross payroll from state payroll deductions of Iowa generated by the new positions”.
“They can train all these new people at no cost, basically,” Hanson said.
The amount of that deal was going to be lower, but the numbers and timeline changed because there were more positions than originally anticipated, Hanson said.
“We want to accommodate that. That’s what our continuing education department is part of. We’re here to help businesses,” Hanson said.
Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at [email protected]