Industrial Tech Summit

Interstates Hosts Area Industrial Technology Summit 

Last month, Interstates hosted an Industrial Technology Summit in Sioux Center, a professional development event for northwest Iowa teachers who educate in the fields of Applied Science, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing (Industrial Technology). This event is put on by the Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA) with the help of individuals from Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, IA, and Western Iowa Technical Community College in Sioux City, IA. Working alongside several others, Interstates’ Recruiting Manager, Kent Heronimus, organized the event. A handful of other Interstates team members helped by facilitating presentations, tours, and breakout sessions that gave the teachers hands-on learning experiences, shedding light on current practices, industry standards, and new innovations.  

“The information shared really helped teachers to understand the current workforce needs and how to support that from their programs,” Chris Dicus, Career & Technical Education (CTE) Consultant for Northwest AEA, shares. Chris hosts CTE Summits across northwest Iowa throughout the year in multiple CTE program areas. 

Other local and regional members of the industry attended to share their input and help answer questions during a roundtable lunch discussion. This portion of the event serves as a Regional Advisory Meeting. Not only do instructors benefit from the insight and guidance provided during this portion of the meeting, but it also helps ensure their CTE programs receive state funding. “These opportunities for educators to partner with the industry allow open communication to continue preparing students and the future workforce in the best ways,” adds Allie Unrau, Learning Intermediary Network Coordinator from Northwest Iowa Community College.  

Grant Engel, Industrial Technology Instructor at Central Lyon Community School District, was appreciative of the partnership opportunity the summit gave them. “I am so thankful Interstates put it together because not only did I come home with new materials to implement, but I got connected with business leaders who are willing to assist and cultivate my goals for the program. The cool part about this whole thing is that everybody has the same goal (get more kids into skilled trades), but what sets Interstates apart is that they are willing to go the extra mile to help the instructors, help the students, and hopefully grow, not only their business but the skilled trades pursuit for the younger generations.” 

Interstates’ Technical Instructor, Travis Andersen, explains how the event was mutually beneficial. “I think the Industrial Tech Summit helped open the eyes of the teachers on what industrial electrical looks like, and helped Interstates see where we, as a local business, can partner with schools and help to grow the skills for possible future employees.” Kent Heronimus agreed. “It was a great opportunity for industry and education to collaborate on key challenges that face each area.  We built relationships with local educators that will help us address some of the workforce shortages that affect our industry.” 

Twelve northwest Iowa school districts attended:  

  • Boyden-Hull 
  • Central Lyon 
  • Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn 
  • Kingsley-Pierson 
  • LeMars 
  • MMCRU (Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn-Remsen Union) 
  • MOC-Floyd Valley 
  • Rock Valley 
  • Sheldon 
  • Sioux City  
  • South O'Brien 
  • Woodbury Central 

Additional Business Partners:

  • CoilCraft 
  • Sioux Automation Center, Inc. 
  • Siouxland Machine 
  • Valley Machining 
  • Demco 
  • Hull Cooperative 

Additional Summit resources: 

  • Cale Hutchings, CTE Program Consultant - Applied Sciences, Technology, Engineering & Manufacturing, Iowa Department of Education 
  • Tina Benton, Intermediary & Work-Based Learning Coordinator, WITCC 
  • Jason Anderson, Director of Economic Development & Workforce Training, NCC 
  • Philip Louters, Instructor - Electrical, NCC 

- Beth VanderZee, Interstates Communications Specialist



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