Leaders gather to celebrate Wilder Business Center



Leaders gather to celebrate Wilder Business Center

Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, representatives from state and federal legislative offices, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) board members, Workforce Development agency officials and area community members celebrated the grand opening of the new Wilder Business Center at the Calmar campus on Thursday, April 25. Over 250 people attended the event.

“One thing we know is that the Branstad administration is about job creation and supporting community colleges,” said Dr. Liang Chee Wee, NICC president, in his welcome address to Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, area dignitaries and guests at the event. 

“Through job training and education, we put people to work. Our commitment is to provide relevant training and education so that businesses grow,” Wee said.

The new facility will make a great impact on the training programs the college can provide for area businesses and expands NICC educational services for the community. The Wilder Business Center builds upon successful enrollment trends in the college’s continuing education and its workforce development division, according to Dr. Wendy Mihm-Herold, vice president of NICC Business and Community Solutions.

“Last year, over 30,000 individuals enrolled in more than 3500 Business and Community Solutions training courses through the college, and over 570 businesses in northeast Iowa are in direct contact with NICC for business and industry training,” Mihm-Herold said. She noted that NICC has provided training for 254 projects through the 260E New Jobs Training Program, helping to create nearly 14,000 new jobs producing a total value of $72 million in training dollars available since 1986, and administered 402 training projects for nearly 11,000 incumbent workers in northeast Iowa.

Middle-skill and advanced-skill training programs through NICC can make the difference in area businesses’ ability to increase productivity, hire new workers, improve the skills development of incumbent and future employees, and could serve as a catalyst for business expansion.

“With this facility and with all of these wonderful people and their support, we will make great things happen,” said Mihm-Herold.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Wilder Business Center’s remodeled auditorium, NICC officials led Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds on a tour of the building to highlight its amenities and expanded capabilities.

“(This area) recently had 27 different industries that moved here, and that will create 1000 jobs. That’s exactly what we’re looking for, especially for the training and education of our young people,” Branstad told KDEC-AM on the tour. Branstad also praised NICC for its decision to freeze tuition costs for students in the next academic year at a time when rising college tuition and fees have become the norm in Iowa and nationwide.


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