High school students can get headstart on college and career plans with NICC

Dietsy Mitchell ...
Dietsy Mitchell ...

As college and career options begin entering the conversation for high school juniors and seniors, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC), the Northeast Iowa Career Learning Link Partnership and the Waukon Center are resources that can be used now by students looking to answer the question of what they plan to do after high school graduation.

Taking advantage of the concurrent enrollment agreement between Waukon High School and NICC, as well as Career Learning Link, are good strategies for high school students who want a head start on a two- or four-year college degree, conveniently and more affordably.

Dietsy Mitchell, a 2017 Waukon High School graduate, completed numerous college credits through the college credit agreement. Her participation in the Career Learning Link program as an upperclassman also brought her healthcare career goals into focus.

“When I first started my sophomore year, I had almost no idea of what sort of a career I might want to pursue. Once I had started the Career Learning Link program and took pre-employment strategies, I was able to figure out what careers interested me most,” explained Mitchell, who earned 17 NICC credits by the time she graduated from Waukon. “When I decided to become a nurse, I participated in job shadowing experiences and tours of healthcare providers. I had a better idea of what going into the health field would be like. The Career Learning Link program furthered my love for the health field.”

Mitchell is accepted to start the Associate Degree of Nursing at the College in January 2018. She was able to get accepted in the program quickly because she completed many pre-requisite classes during high school and also took classes last summer.

“People sometimes underestimate how powerful the work we do with high schools really is,” explained Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., vice president of business and community solutions at NICC. “The Northeast Iowa Career Learning Link program through the College introduces high school juniors and seniors to potential career pathways through mentoring, business tours and job shadowing experiences. We are seeing such great success stories for high school students, like Dietsy Mitchell, who participate in career pathways – they are our future.”

The NICC Waukon Center is a valuable resource for students as they enroll in college credit courses and explore potential careers. The center offers Iowa Communications Network (ICN), online and face-to-face credit courses, as well as admissions information, course registration, placement testing, financial aid assistance and academic advising.

“Having the Waukon Center right next to our high school provides students with computer access, extra classrooms, ICN and Zoom equipment - which is super awesome - and super knowledgeable staff. Talking to someone through the phone is challenging for me in terms of understanding, so to have the College’s staff available to answer my questions was very helpful,” Mitchell added.

Waukon Center staff members provide one-on-one attention that helps guide students through the process of enrolling at the College, exploring careers or developing their skills, depending upon each student’s individual goals, according to Erica Nosbisch, center director.

“Our Waukon Center serves as a convenient and affordable resource for students in the community, whether they want to earn college credit at NICC or obtain the training they need to begin or enhance their careers,” Nosbisch said. “Our center provides great career planning resources for students exploring any number of possible careers. Students may not be able to travel to our Calmar campus on a regular basis, so our center offers these resources locally, which is especially important for our rural area. It has been a pleasure working with Dietsy Mitchell, and it’s very rewarding to see students succeed.”

Concurrent enrollment options for high school students in the College’s district support students’ future academic and career goals. From 2015-2016, the Waukon Center served 144 high school students who enrolled in 1,010 college credits through NICC, saving an estimated $537,896 in tuition for their families. In total, 309 area high school students throughout Allamakee County earned 2,782 college credits through NICC and saved their families an estimated $1,481,343 in tuition.

For more information on services offered through the NICC Waukon Center, visit www.nicc.edu/waukon or contact Nosbisch, center director, at 563-568-3060.

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