A bill at the state Legislature could increase funding for adult literacy at community colleges.

In her update report to the NICC Board of Trustees Monday, Dr. Wendy Mihm-Herold, NICC vice president of business and community solutions, shared information on a legislative bill in Des Moines that would increase funding to community colleges to support their adult literacy services programs, including English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and General Educational Development (GED) coursework.

"We're really expanding, but are continuing to lose funding for adult literacy programs," said Mihm-Herold.

"The funding is gravely needed for our adult literacy department, and we are hoping to see more stabilized funding so that we can see these programs only grow."

Mihm-Herold shared research indicating that 11 percent of residents in Northeast Iowa have not obtained a high school diploma or GED. Adult literacy programs available through NICC directly address these educational needs. Currently, 134 Hispanic and non-English speakers are also enrolled in ESOL classes in the NICC district area.

In business and industry training news, Mihm-Herold received Board approval for 260E Iowa New Jobs Training Program funding in the amount of $190,000 for TM Inc. of Dubuque. The training will support the company's expansion and creation of 46 new jobs in the areas of office and clerical, material and logistical planning.

The NICC Board of Trustees held a public hearing and approved final design plans for a health simulation lab. Health simulation lab projects on each campus will offer students in both credit and non-credit health care programs with opportunities to train using computerized and programmable manikins that display a range of health and emergency care scenarios.

Upcoming events

Dr. Liang Chee Wee, NICC president, shared news on two upcoming events scheduled for Iowa's Dairy Center. The College will host a Necropsy Lab Open House at the center today, March 21, to showcase new labs and analysis areas that train students enrolled in the large animal veterinary technician program.

On Wednesday, April 3, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will speak on the "Importance of Iowa Agriculture" at the Center starting at 2 p.m. Northey's presentation is co-sponsored by the NICC Dairy Foundation and the NICC Foundation.

NICC will hold its annual all-college day event at Upper Iowa University in Fayette Thursday, March 28. All colleges and centers will be closed March 28, as well as on March 29 and April 1, in observance of the Easter holiday.