Waukon High School and NICC partnership increases credit hours for student carpenters

A new agreement established between Waukon High School and Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) will award high school students more college credits for their home construction projects.
The students, under the direction of Waukon High School industrial technology teacher Jed Hemann, have constructed a house in the community each year since 2009. The previous agreement between the high school and the college awarded 1.5 NICC Carpentry program credits to the students. Through the efforts of NICC Carpentry instructor Brian Ondrashek, high school instructors and the NICC High School Partnerships office, the students will now earn 8.5 credits.
“We want to reward the high school students for the work that they are doing and to encourage the students to enroll in our Carpentry diploma program at the Calmar campus,” said Erica Nosbisch, NICC Waukon Center director.
According to Nosbisch, students who earn the 8.5 credits and then complete two elective NICC courses in public speaking and technical math - offered as concurrent enrollment options at the high school or the Waukon Center - will have already earned 14.5 of the 48 required credits for the NICC Carpentry diploma. “At our current tuition/fees rate, students and their families will save $2,363 by continuing their education at NICC,” Nosbisch added.
To increase the number of credit hours available to the high school students, Ondrashek broke up larger NICC course offerings into smaller components. The students may now earn additional credits by taking shorter courses, such as one-credit courses in the Care/Use of Hand/Power Tools, Introduction to Drywall, Interior Doors and Hardware, and Cabinet Installation.
The current high school home construction project is one block away from Waukon High School and the NICC Waukon Center, and the City of Waukon has guaranteed property lots for four more years in the same vicinity of the school and center. A unique partnership between Allamakee Community School District, the City of Waukon, Waukon Economic Development Corporation and several area businesses is helping to make the housing construction projects possible for students.
Waukon High School also developed a schedule to maximize the efficiency of the time students devote to the construction by setting aside a block of time for the project, which encompasses four periods of high school class time. Students may choose to take two, three or all four periods of the school day for the elective class, and they also earn high school credit in addition to college credit through NICC.
For more information on services available at the NICC Waukon Center, visit www.nicc.edu/centers/waukon or contact Nosbisch at 563-568-3060. Learn more about the NICC Carpentry program at www.nicc.edu/carpentry.