Southwest Iowa Technical Career Hub - SWITCH
Overview: The Southwest Iowa Technical Career Hub (SWITCH) is a career and technical Education (CTE) center where next year’s talent pipeline will be trained. SWITCH will help foster economic growth, professional development, and community collaboration across the Southwest Iowa (SWI) region. SWITCH will serve as a centralized hub for job seekers, employers, educators, and community organizations that will train, grow, and retain SWI’s talent pipeline.
Major Stakeholders: East Mills Community School District (EMCSD) and Iowa Western Community College (IWCC)
How Did We Get Here? 2021, EMCSD conducted community engagement meetings to discuss consolidating buildings with a K-12 at the EM high school campus in Malvern. The concept of a Regional Career and Technical Education Center at the EM Elementary Campus was presented to the EM voters as a solution to the EM Elementary building becoming vacant with the passing of a $22 million bond to convert the EM high school into a K-12 campus.
In late fall 2021, A committee was formed to take the Regional CTE Center from a vision to fruition. The committee conducted research to present to the EM Board in the spring of 2022. The committee determined the name SWITCH and then began creating a non-profit entity that would eventually become independent of the major stakeholders.
In August 2022, SWITCH filed paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the state to begin becoming a non-profit entity.
Fall 2022, Director and Career Coach Kattie Lewis was hired to work with the major stakeholders, regional schools, communities, and businesses.
Today, in 2023, Over $1 million in awards and grants have been awarded to SWITCH, EM, and IWCC to begin the construction at SWITCH for classes offered through IWCC starting in the fall of 2024.
Talent Acquisition: Employers can tap into a diverse local talent pool and reduce hiring costs.
Workforce Development: Educational institutions can align their programs with industry demands, facilitating a more skilled workforce.
Community Growth: Collaboration between stakeholders strengthens the local economy and fosters community development.
Data-Informed Decisions: Policymakers can make strategic decisions using real-time labor market data.
Empowerment: Individuals gain the tools and knowledge to make informed career decisions and thrive in their chosen paths.
SWITCH’s mission is to provide vocational training and opportunities to Southwest Iowa’s lifelong learners. By providing transformational career and technical education (CTE), SWITCH empowers Southwest Iowa’s lifelong learners through life-long changing experiences that connect CTE students to business trades opportunities, thereby building hope for socioeconomic change for everyone involved in technical career pathways.