Northeast Iowa Community College Solutions: Fall 2023

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FALL 2023

SOLUTIONS Bonding for Success Investment in Staff Development Makes an Impact at Kessel Kids pg. 2-3 Local Nonprofit Regains Company Culture pg. 8-9 caret-right

Business and Community Solutions


Wilder Business Center 1625 Hwy. 150 S. P.O. Box 400 Calmar, IA 52132

Cresco Center 1020 Second Ave. S.E. Cresco, IA 52136 844.642.2338, ext. 4700

Iowa’s Dairy Center 1527 Hwy. 150 S. Calmar, IA 52132 563.534.9957

Town Clock Business Center 680 Main St., Ste. 100 Dubuque, IA 52001

Dubuque Center 700 Main St. Dubuque, IA 52001 844.642.2338, ext. 3100

Manchester Center 1200 ½ W. Main St. Manchester, IA 52057 844.642.2338, ext. 7700



Continuing education and lifelong learning opportunities are a vital part of your personal and professional success. These short or part-time courses allow you to gain expertise and master skills in a specific topic or area. Industries,

Investment in Staff Development Makes an Impact at Kessel Kids................. 2-3

technologies and even employment can change at any time, and continuing education and NICC can be there to assist you. In the NICC Business and Community Solutions division, we recognize how important lifelong learning is for community members and organizations. We

Moonlight as an Instructor........................................ 4-5

develop a variety of personal enrichment classes for all ages to pursue their passions - from summer camps for youth to cooking classes and more. I’m sure you’ll find a class to spark your interest. Our timely professional training adapts

Team Building Helps Your Business Thrive....................................6-7

to the changing needs of businesses and industry to keep employees engaged and improve their technical skills. Continuing education can be customized to the unique needs of area

Local Nonprofit Regains Company Culture.............................. 8-9

businesses. Our team of experts can build a curriculum around your goals and mission to include a variety of training options such as career and professional development, technical skills, quality and process improvement and more.

Build Your Team Up with Upskilling.............................. 10-11

Career Pathway Certificate training programs at NICC have also helped many professionals restart or transition to new careers in a short period of time. Just this past year, our team served more than 450 area businesses to meet their workforce needs. The Business and Community Solutions team looks forward to serving you and your business this year and into the future. To learn more, view our course catalog at or call 844.642.2338, ext. 1399.

Amy Green Director of Sales and Training

New Hampton 710 W. Main St. New Hampton, IA 50659 844.642.2338, ext. 7104

National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) 8342 NICC Drive Peosta, IA 52068 888.844.6322

Waukon Center 1220 Third Ave. N.W., Ste. 102, Waukon, IA 52172 844.642.2338, ext. 6100

RAMS/Oelwein Center 1400 Technology Drive Oelwein, IA 50662 844.642.2338, ext. 6700

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 900 Jackson St, Suite 110 Dubuque, IA 52001 563.588.3350

For more information about our centers, visit caret-right / 844.642.2338, ext. 1399


Investment in Staff Development Makes an Impact at Kessel Kids At a time when childcare seems scarce and short-staffed, Kessel Kids in Cresco, Iowa, have made it their mission to continue quality care for the community. Melissa Vobr, director of Kessel Kids, decided to invest in her staff and give them the support they need. Melissa had heard of other local businesses in the community partnering with Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) and connected with Alison Holten, training sales professional for NICC Business and Community Solutions. Alison and Celina Peerman, an NICC instructor and organizational psychologist, developed a plan to bring training directly to Kessel Kids. The result was a training series about conflict, strategic thinking, leadership, communication, team building and more.

Dr. Celina Peerman currently serves as an organizational psychologist with over 27 years of experience from front line to senior level positions, in a wide range of industries and organizations. She is passionate about engaging our human resources in new ways to achieve even better organizational results. Celina is a strategist with a sense of humor and a love for building capacity in organizations.



Solutions Magazine spoke with Melissa Vobr, director of Kessel Kids, to learn about the training with NICC. What made you want to start doing training for your staff? You can either commit to solving problems or get stuck ruminating about the systematic challenges from which the challenges present themselves. Creating a healthy work environment in a childcare setting is a tough job. The financial resources do not allow for a built-in support system. I wanted to focus on what I knew we could control and what I feel is the core strength of any team, our relationships and connections. I read in a book “It is the people we meet and the books we read that will change us.” That statement resonated with me. I know that strong connections are the basis of the work we do, and really every moment of our lives, so why not strengthen those connections outside of the grind with professional development opportunities?

What outcomes have you seen since you started the training? Perspective. There seems to be more willingness to accept people for who they are at any given moment in any given environment. The number of individuals willing to participate in or initiate hard conversations has increased with the understanding that they may fail at first and that is okay. We have embraced that we have to fail to learn; but we can’t learn if we can’t get past being comfortable. We have a few team members who have gone a step further to encourage others to be the best possible human they can be. This type of foundation breeds positive energy which in essence creates a thriving environment with thriving children. The quality of childcare services indirectly increases when we are connecting and creating healthier connections with our coworkers.

What has Celina been like as a trainer for you? First and foremost, childcare isn’t always viewed by everyone as a business let alone a professional organization. I was thrilled with NICC and Celina’s willingness to work with the center and to go even further to match content with the center’s needs. Celina’s delivery has been interactive and engaging, which can be a challenge with a multi-generational group and varying skill levels. It makes my heart smile to hear conversations or have coworkers wanting to talk more about the topic matters following the training sessions. I loved the positive energy that resulted from the relatable content and humor.

Have you had any favorite topics or training sessions? All of Celina’s trainings push us to be our best selves at work and at home. The topics and content are transferable to our daily lives. If our organization can commit to inspiring and encouraging those around us every day despite the systematic challenges childcare brings to the table, I believe we can create a work environment that brings a bit of joy to everyone’s lives, including the families and children we serve. / 844.642.2338, ext. 1399


Paulette Milewski

Russ Curry

Moonlight as an Instructor Everyone has a passion in life. Whether it be art, culinary, dance or career development related, everyone has a skill that others may be curious about. Through NICC Business and Community Solutions (BCS), you can spread that wealth of knowledge by creating your own class and moonlighting as an instructor. BCS has a rolodex of class offerings that cover a wide variety of topics - personal enrichment, career development, trades and manufacturing and so much more. If you think of a topic you care about, BCS can create a course around it. “Find out what you offer that is unique, continually communicate why what you offer is special and be passionate about what you do,” Russ Curry, owner/consultant at Wide Prairie HR and BCS instructor, said. “You must enjoy being with people, bring positive energy and accept that semi-organized chaos is the norm. Mostly – have fun!”



Russ has led courses with BCS for several years that focus on leadership and human resources, along with offering Spanish language services. He isn’t the only instructor who enjoys working with BCS. Paulette Milewski, chief inspiration officer at ConnectED Solutions, recently started teaching a Career Pathway Certificate (CPC) with the College. She uses storytelling in her teaching methods to help capture the learner’s attention. “I was invited to facilitate the Career Pathway Certificate for job seekers of customer service and hospitality roles, so that laid the foundation of topics,” Paulette said. “From there, I incorporated real workplace scenarios and skills based on my 20+ years of experience in sales and service.” She recalls a couple of students who have already seen changes in their career and education since taking her course - one

landed an interview that includes a pay increase, and another enrolled in an additional certificate program to further their career.

BCS has a reputation for offering fun, interactive and informative courses, and has something for everyone.

“It is a wonderful experience,” she said.

If you have a passion and want to share it with others, you can start moonlighting as an instructor, too.

Similarly, Russ sees and appreciates the opportunity BCS offers. “If you enjoy people, are passionate about what you do and feel you have something of value to offer – go for it,” he said. Instructors are not left without assistance from BCS staff. The Computer Information Systems department (CIS) offers support if technological issues arise and College staff assists with promoting the course in their efforts. “It’s a very professionally run department that I found easy to work with,” Paulette said.

Contact Kyra to learn about opportunities and next steps. Kyra Bellrichard Director of Open Enrollment and CPCs 844.642.2338, ext. 1380 / 844.642.2338, ext. 1399


Team Building Helps Your Business Thrive



What comes to mind when we mention “team building”? Maybe your mind goes straight to that crazy trust fall exercise in the 90s or a recent personality test. Team building has evolved greatly as a strategy to effectively manage employees. It refers to activities or events that bring a group of people together outside of their daily work tasks. These can be as simple as an icebreaker or brainstorming exercise before a meeting or as extensive as a full- or multi-day retreat. Team building is critical in creating a strong foundation rooted in communication and trust. When teams know each member’s preferred communication styles, body language, etc. they can effectively provide more updates on project status, roadblocks and ask for assistance when needed. Likewise, a team cannot be unified if the individuals don’t trust one another. You can have very talented people in a team, but without trust their productivity will come to a standstill. Collaboration and reinforced commitment are a few more byproducts of team building. When teams trust one another they are less likely to compete with According to Gallup in 2022, each other and more 17% of employees were actively likely to collaborate to accomplish goals. disengaged and “quietly quitting.” Team building can help alleviate these very serious issues by engaging employees in meaningful activities to bring them closer together as coworkers and possibly even develop committed friendships.

Team building can benefit your business in any number of ways. You can experience increased productivity and reduced duplication of work when strong communication is in place. When trust is built, teams are comfortable thinking outside-the-box and feel safe to learn from mistakes and find innovative solutions. Managers can use team building performance to identify strengths or weaknesses and while understanding how to best utilize individual talents. Overall, quality team building can boost morale, spark enthusiasm and create a positive work environment. Your team can incorporate team building into your regular meetings with a simple game or icebreaker to get everyone in the mood to share ideas. Take your team bonding out of the office with a team lunch at a local restaurant or sign up for a community service project in the area. Learning a new skill together can also help build bonds – look for skills training that the team is interested in.

We have lots of team building solutions! Our consultants can meet with you to discuss ideas and most effective ways to build trust and collaboration among your team. Contact us today. Resources: 17 benefits of team building for your organization; HRMorning: 13 reasons why team building is important Team building activities / 844.642.2338, ext. 1399




Local Nonprofit Regains Company Culture Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the traditional interactions among coworkers and the consumer changed forever. Business culture had been shell shocked, and organizations were trying to reestablish the foundation they once had. The Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A) was no different, and their leadership quickly started righting the ship.

Mike Donohue

NEI3A Chief Executive Officer Mike Donohue recognized these changes and took action. Having spent 25 years in the Dubuque community, he knew there were training opportunities that could assist in rehabilitating his organization’s culture.

“As I transitioned to this nonprofit organization,” Mike said, “I quickly identified opportunities to better equip our supervisors as well as organization-wide training opportunities while we worked to build a new agency culture.” Starting in fall 2022, NEI3A participated in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training through Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC). Just under a year later, Donohue noticed their foundation was even stronger as a result of the training and development. “Communication and engagement have increased significantly,” Mike said, “and I give a lot of credit to the training we have been able to engage NICC around and our team's ability to embrace the concepts we've introduced.” NICC instructor Gina Weekly has led the training for NEI3A. Mike credits her for helping create a safe, welcoming and nurturing culture, along with making herself available for NEI3A members who want to discuss issues outside of training. “Our NICC instructor clearly walked the walk through her own life, and this created immediate credibility in the eyes of our team,” he said. Gina has met with the organization four times since their initial training. NEI3A has reestablished their organization’s culture and rebounded from the pandemic. Mike sees the value in NICC trainings and recommends others take advantage.

“Every organization, profit and nonprofit, must recognize the importance of investing in your human capital,” he said. “The customized offerings through NICC are both effective and affordable, and best of all, delivered by people who have a vested interest in your success.” NICC Business and Community Solutions trainings can be customized to the needs of the businesses they work with. Whether they need career development opportunities, information technology, health and safety or a different area, the NICC team will help craft the necessary trainings for the business' employees.

Contact Amy to Learn about Customized Solutions for Your Business. Amy Green Director of Sales and Training 844.642.2338, ext. 3130 / 844.642.2338, ext. 1399


Build Your Team Up with Upskilling Creating opportunities for dialogue and enhancing camaraderie among its management team guided Kendall Hunt Publishing’s leadership and brain health training in the past year. Kendall Hunt, along with its partner companies Great River Learning, RCL Benziger, Paradigm Education Solutions, Westmark Development and Westmark Enterprises, immersed their management teams in a variety of leadership training options including Leading Virtual Teams, Mentoring v. Coaching, Succession Planning, Mastering the Art of Delegation and others. Stacie Halverson, vice president of human resources for Kendall Hunt, said the trainings were the right fit for the companies’ leaders. “Many of our leaders and managers have served in their current roles for a long time while others were just starting out in their management careers. Trying to find a one-size-fits-all is nearly impossible. We decided to do a Leadership Training Series in 2022 and require our managers to pick four they would attend over the course of the year,” Stacie said.


This year, the companies’ leadership also enrolled in brain health training to stay ahead of the curve.

“We have all seen an increase in brain health issues whether from employees or our own families and friends. Most of us are not equipped to handle difficult situations people deal with so our goal was to give our managers tools to help guide employees toward help or to lend an empathetic ear,” Stacie said.

Training programs customized in partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College, instead of on-the-job training efforts, allowed Kendall Hunt to explore different insights and perspectives on management practices and strategies.

Learn ways your organization’s leaders can stay current in management best practices and become more effective in their leadership roles.

“Formal training helps managers put a few more tools in their tool belt or maybe even sharpen the tools for those who have been in leadership a long time,” she said.

Learn More.


caret-right / 844.642.2338, ext. 1399


Leadership Academy The Smart Choice to Stay Competitive. When you’re ready to step up and lead a team, Northeast Iowa Community College is the smart choice to develop your leadership skills. Our Leadership Academy training program is a great investment for rising stars and new managers in any organization. The two-tier program is designed to increase business acumen and enhance interpersonal skills.

Select the Tier that Best Matches Your Needs Check-Circle Personalized Attention from Instructors who are Subject-Matter Experts Check-Circle Network with Peers from Diverse Backgrounds Check-Circle Half-day Sessions in an Eight-week Format to Fit Your Busy Schedule

The Leadership Solutions You Need. 844.642.2338, ext. 1399



SOLUTIONS MAGAZINE • FALL 2023 / 844.642.2338, ext. 1399


Business and Community Solutions P.O. Box 400 • Calmar, IA 52132

THE SMART CHOICE FOR YOUR TEAM BUILDING SESSIONS Northeast Iowa Community College can handle the details, big or small, for your next meeting or team building session so you can focus on what matters most - your people. Our experienced team provides a one-stop shop of customized services to make planning and hosting your next corporate event or meeting a success.

Gary Stoppleman

CIRCLE-CHECK Meeting and conference facilities with seating for 20 to 300

and helpful staff at the Town

CIRCLE-CHECK State-of-the-art technology with on-site support, catering and other convenient services

Clock Business Center, DuMA’s

CIRCLE-CHECK A coordinator works with you from start to finish to ensure your day runs smoothly

inclusive hybrid meetings


“Because of the technology

board has been able to hold that engage participants regardless of their ability to

The Solutions You Need. 844.642.2338, ext. 1399 caret-right

attend a meeting in person. This has been essential to the speed of our work and need for stakeholder input.”

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