The Ottumwa Courier

Education

November 17, 2012

Improving economy means fewer students

Community college numbers getting back to normal

OTTUMWA — It may be misleading to simply say community college enrollments are dropping. Or that the change is a bad thing.

An Associated Press review of data provided by the colleges shows the state’s 15 community colleges enrolled about 100,500 students this fall, down by 5,500 students from a year ago. That’s two years in a row the schools have seen numbers drop.

However, Jim Lindenmayer, president of Indian Hills Community College, wants the community to understand that statistically, two-year colleges in Iowa are doing great.

“I just finished showing the board a growth chart,” he said Friday during a board of trustees seminar. “Starting in about 2000, we began to grow anywhere from about 3-6 percent per year despite a declining population in our region.”

Skipping ahead from the year 2000 to 2012, that growth has continued at a steady pace. In between those years were some wild numbers.

“In 2009, we jumped up 20 percent,” Lindenmayer said. “I don’t know that we’ve ever seen a 20 percent increase in enrollment.”

Enrollment rose another 8 percent in 2010. Now that people are getting back to work in 2011 and 2012, it’d be a bit misleading to simply say enrollment has dropped at community colleges, he said.

“Those [unusual statistical] spikes are now correcting to [more realistic] numbers,” Lindenmayer said.  

Several officials told the Associated Press the correction should be seen as a positive sign. During the recession, community colleges saw more 25- to 49-year-olds who were learning new skills when they were unable to find work, the AP reported.

“When the economy improves, people that were going to school go back to work,” said  M.J. Dolan, executive director of the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees.

There’s still plenty of work for the schools, educators say.

“We continue to get the message from our business and industry partners that they have job openings that require a skill set we can provide, ” said Tom Rubel, an executive dean at IHCC. “We are encouraged by the big increases we have seen [this fall] in some of our technology programs.”

Study of Health Occupations like nursing saw increases in enrollment this fall as well, according to a release from IHCC.

In fact, employers need workers in skilled positions right now.

“There are still jobs out there,” said Lindenmayer. “About 200 of them in our region.”

1
Text Only
Education
  • 15-minutes.png A change at Evans

    OTTUMWA — You can get kids to memorize facts. But teaching them to think can take more time. Educational leaders told the Ottumwa school board that the school year that begins 2014 will shift Evans Middle School students from 45-minute periods to 60-

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT Agriculture Day color photo 2 -T -L -M Cardinal students celebrate Ag Day ELDON — Sometimes the best way to learn is to get out of the classroom and come face-to-face with things that you might not see every day. Students at Cardinal Elementary School got that chance Thursday during Ag Day. Every year, the Cardinal FFA and

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418 OTT Joe Tafta color photo -L -T -M Pursuing opportunities

    OTTUMWA — Joe Tafta follows the rules. The Simpson College junior hopes to be a U.S. marshal one day, so he’s careful about what he says and does. But not always. On the afternoon of April 1, Tafta says, he nearly got booted out of Dunn Library for m

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Earth day color photo 1 -T -M Cargill celebrates Earth Day by educating ALBIA — In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, employees from Cargill Eddyville and Cargill Pork are visiting with students at Grant Elementary and Lincoln Center in Albia all this week. On Wednesday the Courier caught up with them as they went

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Carrying bookbags a balancing act OTTUMWA — Permission slips. Notes from teachers. School activity announcements, birthday invitations, report cards and homework to sign. Kids bring home a lot of stuff. But is it done fairly? The school board this week was asked by ranking members of

    April 16, 2014

  • Van Buren to share FFA with Harmony KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren Community School Board approved a recommendation from its administration to share the ag program with Harmony for the 2014-15 school year. The decision means that Van Buren students would travel to Harmony to receive ag instruct

    April 16, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416 OTT Ron Oswalt mug -T School board member resigns

    OTTUMWA — As this week's school board meeting came to a close, the president read a letter from one of the members. Board President Carol Mitchell read that fellow board member Ron Oswalt was announcing his resignation from the Ottumwa Board of Educa

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT picture Bracelets -M -T Caring Kids

    OTTUMWA — Five fourth-graders didn't need grownups to show them it feels good to help others. They found out firsthand. "I wanted to do a project with the bracelets I make. And it's better to help people than to just do a random project," Kennedy Hug

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT Fairfield business students photo color Fairfield students proving to be future leaders

    FAIRFIELD — At Fairfield High School, students interested in making a career in a business-related field have the chance to join the Fairfield chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), a nonprofit organization that helps prepare them for

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National