SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. – Ground has been broken for new and expanded facilities at Northeast Community College in South Sioux City that will help meet the training needs of business and industry in the Siouxland region.
Northeast breaks ground for addition at South Sioux City
August 31, 2023 4:23 PM
An 11,600-square-foot, commercial driver’s license (CDL) truck driving training facility and an adjacent truck driving range, and a 1,500 square-foot addition to Northeast’s existing Industrial Training building to increase capacity of the welding program will be located just to the west of the main extended campus building at 1001 College Way.
Leah Barrett, president of Northeast, said Thursday's groundbreaking was symbolic of the college’s commitment to workforce development.
“Northeast Community College is a mission-driven institution as all these actions demonstrate. We strive to be a great place for students, staff and faculty to think, act and work,” Barrett said. “We are pleased we have the partnerships in place to respond quickly to meet needs as they arise in industry, such as the need for more truck drivers and welders.”
Barrett said the projects will allow Northeast to meet increased employer requests for workers with specialized skills and will also help foster business growth in the region. She said it will also improve the attainment rate in Northeast’s 20-county service area and in the State of Nebraska to achieve the goal of 70% established by the Legislature. The goal of Legislative Resolution 335 is that at least 70 percent of 25- to 34-year-old Nebraskans have a degree, certificate, diploma, or other postsecondary or industry-recognized credential with economic value by 2030.
“It's projects like these that will allow Northeast Community College to achieve its vision of empowering every person in the region to achieve their academic and workforce development goals,” Barrett said.
Gov. Jim Pillen said it is the people that set Nebraska apart from other states. Projects like this help meet the demands of industry and thus will enable more Nebraskans to stay in the state.
Nebraskans are extraordinary individuals, but they are humble. It’s OK for Nebraskans to share with others how special the state is and the people are, he said.
Pillen said he met with tribal leaders in South Sioux City last spring. One of the leaders shared that everyone is here for a purpose. This leader was taught by his grandfather that everything people do to try and make their families or communities better has an impact.
“It has an impact for seven generations. That’s right, seven. Before I learned that, and I have had tons of observations of it since then, I was always just thinking about my grandbabies. I would encourage us all to (think of our impact for seven generations).”
Pillen was joined by Lt. Gov. Joe Kelly, and Will Lee, director of Budgeting for the State of Nebraska, at the groundbreaking event. Others in attendance were representatives of the South Sioux City and Siouxland chambers of commerce, city and county officials, representatives of area business and industries, among others.
Funds for the two projects have primarily come from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), with other federal grant funds and donations. Additionally, Northeast will use funds from a U.S. Dept. of Labor community funding appropriations request that was included in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations budget approved late last year. No college funds are being used.
In June 2022, members of the Northeast Board of Governors held roundtable sessions with the heads of several businesses and organizations in South Sioux City and the Siouxland region to discuss their goals and workforce requests. The sessions were followed up with additional meetings with employers throughout the area.
“It was a very beneficial session for all involved,” said Pat Wojcik, a District III board representative from South Sioux City. “It really gave us insight into the needs of the region and one reason why we are holding this event to break ground on these projects.”
“The investments made here in South Sioux City will help fill the high demand in truck driving and welding across our state and enable northeast Nebraska to sustain and grow a future ready workforce, said Rony Ortega, superintendent of South Sioux City Community Schools. “The South Sioux City Community Schools look forward to the positive impact these facility expansions and increased opportunities will have on both our secondary and postsecondary learners and the community at large in northeast Nebraska. Strong schools, colleges, universities, and businesses make for a strong state.”
The project increases the number of welding booths from 12 to 20 in the Industrial Training building and provides space for better supervision and safety. Additionally, the CDL training building will include two classrooms, a simulator room, drive-thru access, and an outdoor shelter for storing and charging. The truck driving range will provide space for instruction of all required maneuvers to obtain a CDL certification.
Work on the truck driving range has already begun. Construction on the new CDL facility and expansion of the Industrial Training building will begin this fall with completion in time for the Fall 2024 semester.
“We hope with construction now underway, and some good weather, these essential projects will be completed next summer,” Barrett said. “That would mean in just one year, students in these programs could be helping Siouxland industries with graduates to fill some of these job vacancies.”
Ground was broken Thursday at Northeast Community College’s extended campus in South Sioux City for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) truck driving training facility and an adjacent truck driving range, and an addition to the college’s existing Industrial Training building to increase capacity of the welding program. Pictured (from left) are Lt. Gov. Joe Kelly, South Sioux City Mayor Rod Koch, Pat Wojcik of South Sioux City and a Board of Director; Lee Will, budget director for the State of Nebraska; Gov. Jim Pillen, Northeast President Leah Barrett, and Brian Kumm, district supervisor for Norfolk Iron & Metal.