Dear Editor,

I was a 1996 graduate of Indian Hills Community College (IHCC), so I understand the importance of IHCC for our community. The impact IHCC made on my life as a first-generation college student is crucial to who I am today.

As Superintendent at Cardinal Community School District, I now see firsthand the many benefits IHCC provides for this generation of students in our region. I have worked closely with IHCC to provide life-changing programs for our students that help them earn college credit.

During the 2019-20 academic year, Indian Hills provided 29,552 concurrent enrollment credits to 2,176 students in the 10-county region. That saved students and families of southern Iowa more than $5.3 million in Indian Hills tuition, or the equivalent of $9.4 million in Iowa Regent University tuition.

For Cardinal alone, during the 2020-21 school year, 105 students received concurrent enrollment credit (totaling 1,393 credits). That’s $257,707 saved for our students and their families. IHCC is vital to making college more affordable for our students and helping them take their next steps after high school graduation.

A portion of the bond revenue for IHCC will be used to establish virtual classrooms in each of the 19 high schools within the Indian Hills region. These classrooms will not only increase the number of concurrent enrollment courses available to students, but will provide technology that can be used by all students and staff to enhance education in our districts.

Additionally, the new building on the Centerville Campus will assist in graduating more welders, industrial mechanics, and construction workers; all skills that are greatly needed by businesses and industries within our region. The addition of the Criminal Justice Training Center on the Ottumwa North Campus will ensure that students who take the oath to protect and serve the residents of our region are properly trained and ready to fill open positions throughout our region immediately upon graduation.

Please join me in casting a “yes” vote for the Indian Hills bond levy on November 2, 2021, or by absentee ballot prior to Election Day. The bond levy is a nominal contribution when you consider the great benefit our community college provides for our region. These projects will ensure that Indian Hills can continue to offer low-cost, high-quality post-secondary education opportunities to thousands of Southern Iowa residents now and into the future.

Respectfully,

Joel Pedersen, Ottumwa

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