Gunsmithing program heading to Iowa Valley Grinnell

With gun-maker Brownells nearby in Montezuma, Iowa Valley Community College District’s Grinnell campus is responding to the needs of this major employer.

It was announced this week that the Iowa Valley Grinnell campus will start a gunsmithing technology academic program. It will be the only program of its kind in the state and begin this fall.

It will provide training to students interested in pursuing careers as technicians in the firearms manufacturing and distributing industry.

“It’s essentially a very highly sophisticated machining program,” said MaryAnne Nickle, dean of Iowa Valley Grinnell.

The program is a two-year associate’s program, and students will learn how to make, repair, maintain and modify firearms. Nickle said graduates of this program could find work for manufacturers like Brownells or work in retail shops, the military or have their own business.

There will be no testing of the guns on the campus as ammunition is not allowed on site, but the college will use local firing ranges to test the work of the students. Students in this program will have to go though a stricter selection process than traditional students, which includes a background check.

“As part of our mission, community colleges develop workforce training programs to meet the needs of local business and industry,” said Marshalltown Community College Provost Robin Lilienthal.

Nickle said they have yet to market the program since it was just approved by the Iowa Valley board this week but already have had interest and calls in recent weeks.

“It’s really interesting how the word is spreading,” she said.