Maquoketa’s 10th Anniversary

“Where everybody knows your name.” That slogan from a certain popular television show from the 80s and early 90s, is even more appropriate and fitting for Clinton Community College’s Maquoketa Center.

“There are just so many ways we support the students,” said Continuing Education Specialist Penny Plautz, who is in charge of all things connected with the center. “The staff has been here for 10 years. The students and everyone else who comes through those doors feels like they know us, and we know them.”

Clinton Community College has had a presence in Maquoketa for more than 30 years, starting at a facility located across from the high school football field and next to a community swimming pool that was long ago filled in and no longer in existence.

The college left that building in the early 2000s and after a few years of moving around to borrowed locations, constructed a new 11,000-square-foot building at 501 W. Washington St., next to the high school. That center is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Plautz started working for the college a couple of years prior to the opening of the building and has been there ever since. With a slight smile she remembers thinking she would only be there for a few years before moving on.

“The staff even joked that they would be here long after I left, but I became attached,” she said. “People feel like they can talk to us. You really feel the ‘community’ in community college here.”

The college delivers a wide range of services for the community. Three of the classrooms are used daily to provide college classes for Maquoketa High School students, allowing them to earn college credits while still in high school.

Utilizing a combination of classroom and online classes, anyone can earn their Associate in Arts Degree at the center. A career program in Administrative Office Support is available and, in 2013, the addition of a half-million-dollar Advanced Manufacturing Center now allows it to provide training in welding, machining and related manufacturing technology areas. Certified Nurse Aide training was also added to the growing list of offerings just this year.

It doesn’t end there, students can take advantage of HiSET classes to earn their high school equivalency degree, and the public can enroll in a number of fun Continuing Education classes and attend regular Visiting Artist performances and senior-related classes.

“A few years ago we formed a community board and one of the big things we talked about was a college for kids,” said Plautz. “We started that in partnership with Jackson County Extension and it’s a big hit every year.”

She said partnerships with local business and other entities have played a key role in the center’s success, pointing to work they have done, among many others, with the local banks, the YMCA, and especially the Maquoketa Community School District.

“We provide students and the public an opportunity they may not have had,” said Plautz. “I came here thinking I would change the world one student at a time, instead, they have changed me one student at a time.”

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