College and Career Connection program at NICC helps bring students’ goals into focus

The College and Career Connection (CCC) program at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) provides high school students with work-based learning experiences, such as business tours and job shadows, to help guide their future professional success.

Many students throughout the year participate in CCC events and activities to gain insights into possible careers. These activities, and one-on-one guidance from College and Career Coaches, make a difference in the students’ understanding of what a career is really like and whether it’s a good fit.

Emiliano Castillo, a Postville High School senior, participated in career exploration activities through CCC. “I completed job shadows with all levels of law enforcement within the state of Iowa including local police departments, county sheriff offices, Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Vehicle Enforcement Agency. One of the most valuable lessons was learning about the different roles and missions of each agency,” Castillo said. He plans to earn a degree in Police Science from Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo and join the Iowa State Patrol after graduation.

Another Postville senior, Sierra Mohs, received helpful guidance at college decision time. “The NICC College and Career Coaches helped connect me to the colleges I was interested in, how to be accepted into colleges and how to do the college things on my own. They also guided me to the classes I could take to help me in the future,” she said. Mohs plans to complete an Associate of Arts degree at NICC and then train for a dental assisting career.

Two other seniors from Edgewood-Colesburg High School, Addy Kirby and Kassidy Krapfl, also found college and career guidance success through the program.

“Starting out my freshman year I wanted to be an accountant. Thanks to the NICC college courses I took in high school, I quickly learned that accounting was not for me,” Kirby said. “I began job shadowing in different areas and found a passion for rehabilitating others.” She plans to enroll next fall at Upper Iowa University to major in Physical Therapy.

Krapfl worked closely with Sarah Beaman, College and Career Coach, to decide upon the right academic path after high school. “Sarah helped me with my decision to pursue further education. Now I’m going to attend the University of Northern Iowa for Business Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship,” Krapfl said. She also received a Bright Scholarship to support her college education.

Beaman worked closely with each of the students during their career planning process. “These students worked diligently to explore careers and learn which college path would help them achieve their goals. They have bright academic and career futures, and I’m proud of their accomplishments. I also remind students to apply for scholarships, like the Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship, to help alleviate the financial stress of obtaining higher education,” she said.

College and Career Connection is a program that exposes students to high-demand career areas and sets them on the pathway to career and educational success beyond high school. The program provides work-based learning opportunities for students in partnership with local businesses. For more information about the program or to contact a school’s coach, visit