DONNELLSON -More than a dozen students graduated from the third annual Lee County Economic Development Leadership class on Friday at a ceremony at Central Lee High School
12 Plus is an employability class for high school students designed by local industry and focuses on what individuals entering the workforce need to know to get and keep a quality career in the area. Through this program, the students have learned skills such as presentation skills, money management, basic safety, resume building and interview skills.
The class goes over basics such as attitude, appearance, attendance, and accountability. “Many employers tell us that these are the skills employees are lacking when they enter the workforce” said program organizer Dana Millard with LCEDG. “If we don’t teach our students before they enter the workforce, we are not setting them up for success at their first job.”
Students toured facilities such as Silgan Containers, Independent Can, Pinnacle Foods, and Stuke Plastics to learn about career opportunities in the area. They’ve also visited local Ironworkers 150 training center, and SCC’s industrial Tooling program to learn about local education opportunities after high school. Seven of the 15 students who graduated today are also enrolled in Southeastern Community College’s Industrial Technology program with tree more students planning on starting the program next semester. Nathaniel Carle, a junior at Fort Madison High School, commented, “I was always told factories were bad places to work, with low pay, in this class I learned that is not the case and there’s more to industrial maintenance than I realized.”
12 Plus also includes a team project. Where students worked as a team to do some 3D Printing for Pinnacle Foods or helped make a work area at Climax more efficient and safe by redesigning an employee’s workspace. A design Climax plans to implement and have the students assist with.
Will James, a junior at Keokuk High School remarked, “I learned a lot about the manufacturing industry and it changed my perspective on the jobs in the area.” Central Lee High School senior Dalton Durand commented “I plan to be an electrician, so it was interesting to see how you could make a career without having to go to a four-year college”
This is the third year of Lee County EDG organizing the 12 Plus program. “We do plan on having another class in the fall with all Lee County schools participating. However right now we’re looking at ways to get more students involved” stated Millard. “As you heard from the students, this program greatly impacts their outlook on careers in the area so we want to find ways more students can take advantage of programs such as this.”