New programs are now available at Iowa Lakes Community College. A Water Quality and a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology (HVAC) program will be offered as well as an additional Massage Therapy program in Algona.
The water quality program is a spin-off of environmental studies and agriculture programs. "You can't read anything about agriculture without hearing the impact it has on water quality," said President Valerie Newhouse. "Our program will be at the Estherville campus."
When students finish the program, they are qualified to work in municipality, wastewater or clean water treatment, conservation programming or in agriculture programming and industry. "Most of our graduates stay right here in the communities and the better part of them stay in Iowa because it's a need everywhere," said Newhouse.
Program Coordinator and Instructor, Curt Neuharth is jumpstarting the new 2-year HVAC program at ILCC. "I've taught for over 17 years at different community colleges and technical institutes. I've also worked out in the field for over 17 years so I have a good feel for what the students need to know when they get out," said Neuharth.
Between the two years, the students will be required to work for a contractor where they will receive credit and be graded.
"One of the most important inventions ever invented was refrigeration which includes air conditioning," said Neuharth. "There's a real need out there. We need to keep residences and commercial buildings cool in the summer and heated in the winters."
Graduates don't need to stick to HVAC installer or service tech careers. They could become a sheet metal mechanic, refrigeration mechanic, instructor, sales rep or do maintenance at a large business.
The job outlook is expected to grow 34% between now and 2020, while the median annual wage is $42,530. Another notable feature about this field, is that students will have to use computers, math skills and some good human relations.
"I'm really looking forward to this new program," said Neuharth. "It's something I always dreamed about teaching at the other colleges and universities in the past."