Career Academies

Training for high school students

Sparks flying, machines cutting, stethoscopes listening, skillets sizzling — that’s what a typical class may look like for hundreds of high school students across Eastern Iowa who take classes with EICC while still in high school.

Over the last three decades, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges has worked side-by side with local school districts to provide education and training to thousands of students through concurrent enrollment, which now includes more recently established Career Academies.

While many general education concurrent enrollment courses are often delivered at the high school, Career Academies utilize the college’s labs and facilities to train students in specialized fields ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to information technology. A Career Academy’s structured career and technical curriculum leads to completion of a postsecondary Certificate, Diploma and/or Associate’s Degree, preparing students to enter good jobs and careers available in the region. With so many options to enhance their learning, it’s easier than ever for high school students to graduate with college credit, certifications and more at absolutely no cost to them.

“It’s extremely important to help high school students in understanding career/technical education fields,” said Daniel Marvin, Career Academy Coordinator.

“Students can try their hand at different things and discover their passions and strengths, as well as what careers they may not like. It’s great for students to have these experiences before they graduate to help them make better career choices.”

Easton Valley seniors Parker Olsen, Nate Rathje and Abram Driscoll have been learning how to weld at the college’s Blong Technology Center, working toward a certificate and earning college credit. All three young men agree the experience has opened their eyes to a number of career possibilities, as well as taught them a skill set they can use in everyday life.

“There are a lot of people that want to do this kind of stuff and their high school doesn’t require it or always offer it, so I’m happy we can come to EICC,” Rathje said.

“It gives you a little bit of a head start,” Olsen said. “If you can come here and get your certificate before you’re out of high school, you can go straight into what you want to do after your graduate. It’s a huge help.”

“I personally would rather do a hands-on course. I like these way better because I can really see my improvement,” Olsen said.

For Marvin, seeing students like Olsen light up when they have completed a project or done well is the cornerstone of what Career Academies are all about.

“Whenever I see a student come to the realization they’ve created something or completed a project, you can see from their big smiles how fulfilling it is for them. To me, that’s what we’re trying to bring them, a discovery of what they may want to do and enjoy doing.”

In addition to helping students discover their next steps, especially for those who might not normally pursue further education or training, giving high school students the opportunity to learn a specific trade develops a pipeline to meet the demands of business and industry for a skilled workforce. As local industries continue to express the need for trained workers, Career Academies can help.

“We talk to all of our program and advisory committees and ask them for their feedback. We want to make sure what we’re doing is going to get students a job,” Marvin said.

Right now, EICC offers Career Academies in the following areas with plans to add even more options for students in the future:

Clinton current/projected career academies

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Engineering Tech
  • Business Education
  • Allied Health/Nursing
  • Welding

Scott Current/Projected Career Academies

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Engineering Tech
  • Automotive Technology
  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Information Technology/Programming/ Cybersecurity/Augmented Virtual Reality
  • Welding

Muscatine Current/Projected Career Academies

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Engineering Tech
  • Agriculture
  • Culinary
  • Education
  • Information Technology/Networking For System And Security
  • Allied Health/ Nursing
  • Welding

Over the next 10 years, the college is looking to enhance its career and technical education offerings by investing in new equipment and expanding hands-on labs. To fund the project, the EICC Board of Trustees approved a March 2 bond referendum for voters in Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott Counties and nearby areas. The planned expansion includes sites in all four counties. The additional programs and services will be available both to current high school students and all of the college’s traditional students. Many area school boards have passed resolutions in support of the referendum. To learn more visit

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