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The Governor and the state legislature approved the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for community college workforce development projects intended to help the state recover from the pandemic. Northeast's allocation of $10 million will be utilized primarily for two projects: The Northeast Nebraska Innovation Hub and Fabrication Lab and for the South Sioux City Workforce Training Center.

These projects support our region's small businesses and are aimed at many of the industries most negatively impacted by the pandemic. The college plans to utilize grant funds, ARPA dollars and private contributions to complete these projects. These projects are intended to begin in early 2023 and be completed by 2025.

This South Sioux City facility and program expansion will provide opportunities not currently available in the Siouxland area, including career pathway programs with on and off ramps and short-term credentials that provide excellent opportunities with life sustaining wages for low skilled individuals.

The programming would serve:

  • low-skilled, underemployed adults
  • employers and upskilling of current staff, and
  • high school students earning college credits and credentials

Proposed Programming

  • Commercial Driver's License Training: short-term programming with both simulation and over the road training.
  • Building Construction: The program would be repackaged and sequenced into multiple pathways, including drywalling, flooring, windows/door installation, and roofing. These short-term certifications fill a void working as subcontractors in the construction industry. A two-year program could include options related to blueprint reading, estimation, drafting and management. Wayne State's construction management degree as well as non-credit industry-recognized credentials for current workforce in the industry could also be available.
  • Heavy Equipment Operation: Short-term programming with both simulation and on heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, skid steer loaders, forklift and dump trucks.
  • Industrial Robotics: Short-term programming that could ladder into various credit programs offered at Northeast. It would start with certification as a manufacturing operator and progress through programming, troubleshooting, and advanced electrical and mechanical work.
  • Mechanical Foundations: Short-term programming related to the maintenance and repair of engines and motors. Perfect small business opportunity for someone who likes to fix things, provides foundational skills for job advancement and is a career ladder opportunity to several degree programs.
  • Entrepreneurship: These would be taught as a series of conference style workshops for those who want to open their own small business. It can also be laddered in to business diploma and degree programs.
  • Welding: Renovation of facilities would allow us to expand welding booths from 14 to 20.

Currently, this project is being planned in phases, with the welding renovation and CDL programming expansion coming first to utilize the ARPA funds. Meanwhile, the planning and the fundraising for the workforce training center will continue.