NICC and businesses partner on $4.68 million in skilled workforce training

A new round of workforce training agreements between businesses and Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) will help employers remain competitive and hire new skilled employees in the next year.

These agreements, as part of the 260E Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training program, will offset training costs for businesses seeking to upskill their workforce. Training can include hard skills such as welding, industrial maintenance, heavy equipment operation, workplace safety and computer skills, as well as human resources, management and leadership training.

The 260E program allows NICC and its business partners to enhance the region’s workforce through employee upskilling and education. Businesses also participate in the program to retain employee talent.

Aveka Nutra Processing, of Waukon, partners with the College for 260E agreements and has applied the State funding toward quality and food safety training, maintenance training for various maintenance functions and subjects, technical training courses for the engineering team and production personnel, as well as leadership, team building and project management courses.

“In my experience, formal training through Northeast Iowa Community College can motivate a person to keep learning and improving special skills. Specific topics such as food microbiology or spray drying processing is better learned in a formal setting to gain knowledge in specific areas of our business that cannot always be learned on the job. As manufacturing moves to more automated processes and programming, we will also have more training needs in areas of automation and computer skills,” stated Kayce Burris, manager of quality at Aveka Nutra Processing.

The food processing and nutraceutical products company is one of eight employers to enter into 260E training agreements with NICC for Fiscal Year 2022. The bond sale that will fund the training certificates is valued at $4,685,000 and supports the creation of 379 new jobs in the College’s district area. The NICC Board of Trustees approved the bond issuance at its June 21, 2021 meeting.

“The 260E program through the State of Iowa creates training opportunities for local businesses of all sizes. This funding support enhances the skills of new employees in nearly every sector of our northeast Iowa economy,” said Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., NICC vice president of business and community solutions. “As we move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in Iowa, it is this critical support that will allow businesses to grow and thrive.”

Since the 260E state legislation was created in 1985, Northeast Iowa Community College has secured and invested $98,245,469 to fund 330 different projects, creating 17,119 new jobs. For more information about the 260E program, visit the Iowa Economic Development website at