Organizers of the award ceremony said hosting the event actually required volunteers, too. One of the larger groups helping were students from the Ottumwa Job Corps Center. A local official also listed several positive things about Ottumwa, and when he mentioned that he had recently toured the Job Corps center, both Branstad and Reynolds seemed interested.
When they announced they would take an unscheduled tour of the campus in an hour, a couple of Job Corps staff members looked excited (and a bit surprised) as they grabbed cell phones to start making calls to the center as well as, presumably, the regional Department of Labor office in charge of the program.
The center is right across the street from IowaWorks, the offices out by the Ottumwa Regional Airport that help Iowans find employment. Job Corps and the workforce development office work together to get the students on a productive path. The executive branch surprised officials again when they said they'd stop at the local IowaWorks site, too, in addition to the scheduled tour of Indian Hills.
The college, the workforce center and Job Corps are co-located, allowing students to learn job skills, then get help finding appropriate work.
Linda Rouse, Iowa Workforce Development regional director, said the testing program caught the governor's interest. The career readiness certificate allows job candidates to show employers they have the right skills to work; that's good for workers and businesses, she said.
"We talked about NCRC testing, which we do in our center as well as the Indian Hills Success Center for [other] locations," she said. "They got to see testing going on as well as a computer workshop while they were here. You'd be surprised how many jobs now require some type of computer skills. Some people who haven't been around them are intimidated by computers. Just about every position nowadays requires some use of a computer."