New initiatives at IVCE enhance student support

Iowa Valley Continuing Education is moving forward with several initiatives that reaffirm our commitment to students and stakeholders in our communities. As we look ahead there are positive changes being made to improve student support services and promote retention and student success, key objectives in IVCCD’s strategic plan and part of our mission.

For two years, Iowa Valley Continuing Education has been testing a new registration software system, Higher Reach, with the goal of providing students instant access to our course offerings with an online registration feature. This initiative is extremely important to IVCE because it provides students with timely information about course offerings and services. Students will find the search feature easy to use, and the registration process immediate and convenient. The IVCE team has worked diligently on this project and looks forward to rolling it out in January 2014 when the next EdVenture class schedule is mailed.

IVCE is also expanding educational services in Tama County. Led by the vision and passion of Board member Yvonne Mallory with strong support from South Tama County School District, we opened the doors to the Iowa Valley Tama County Education Center this past month. The Center is conveniently located in the South Tama County Partnership Center, where we provide adult basic education courses, English as a second language, and high school equivalency preparation. It is our hope that by providing these services in Tama, students will take that next step and begin an educational journey that promotes upward mobility and economic self-sufficiency through education, employment and mentorship.

The final initiative that I’ll mention is the Pathways for Academic Career and Employment program (PACE). During the past legislative session, $5 million was appropriated to support the PACE program. PACE unites the community college, community-based organizations and local employers under two common goals: 1) low-income adults will obtain more advanced skills and better jobs through more accessible and navigable training and career advancement systems and 2) local employers will have access to a reliable supply of workers whose skills align with industry needs.

A key component to PACE is recruitment. The program incorporates Pathway Navigators to increase student engagement. By building strong relationships with students to identify barriers and provide the necessary intervention(s) to encourage students to stay on course.

In the past year, IVCE had 3,088 students enroll in programming to enhance their employability and academic success. We’d like to provide these students and others with additional levels of education through certificate, diploma and degree attainment in whatever path they choose.

Jacque Goodman is the vice chancellor of Continuing Education for Iowa Valley Community College District.