Laid-off Iowans face long waits to get into job training programs at community colleges, reports the Des Moines Register.
At Des Moines Area Community College, students may wait two years to enter the nursing program, three years for dental hygiene. Automotive and welding programs, which struggled to fill classrooms three years ago, are moving into larger facilities to meet demand. Culinary arts had a 1½-year waiting list till it expanded. More than 100 students are waiting to enter the program in the fall.
All of the state’s community colleges report long waiting lists for health programs such as nursing and most have wait lists for technical programs such as welding.
Iowa Western Community College in February will unveil a new nursing center in 27,850 square feet of renovated space and a new addition. The center will include four surgery tech classrooms and 10 simulator classrooms.
Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids added a second evening weekend section to its licensed practical nurse training program last year. The college now offers six sections each of first- and second-year nursing classes. About 375 students are enrolled in the program, and another 1,200 are working on the prerequisite classes.
DMACC runs its welding stations 15 hours a day every weekday, plus weekends. Pay for welders starts at $12 an hour and can grow to more than $20 an hour. “The need for welders is just phenomenal,” says Robert Denson, the college president.