Estherville, IA (KICD)–The Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees met Tuesday afternoon and learned about the positive impact of the Criminal Justice program on area law enforcement agencies.
Chris Gerstbrein, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, reported that many students serve as reserve police officers with local agencies. In fact, last spring, several C.J. students were hired by local agencies while they were in their final semester or, shortly after graduation. In addition, Gerstbrein, along with fellow Assistant Professor Sonja Fagre, keep an active list of students seeking employment so that when they become aware of jobs, they can share them with those interested.
Three sophomore students also met with the Trustees. Eric Moore of Fountain, Colo., Elizabeth Bates of LeMars, and, Blaine Johnson of Spencer, shared their experiences in the Criminal Justice program.
Moore selected Iowa Lakes because of his interest in diving and Iowa Lakes had a Swimming and Diving team. He plans to pursue a career in the patrol.
Bates specifically came to Iowa Lakes because of the Criminal Justice program’s good reputation. “I’m planning on using my Criminal Justice Degree to pursue a professional job in law enforcement,” Bates said.
And, Johnson appreciates the affordability of Iowa Lakes. He also expects to become a law enforcement professional.
There are currently about 40 students enrolled in the program. Many of them will use their spring break to travel to El Paso County, Colo., for their “CJ in the Big City” class. Tours of correctional facilities, as well as criminal and civil courts exposes the students to the opportunity and diversity of a larger police agency. Also, they expect to receive briefings from criminal investigators and specialized units, ride along with the sheriff’s department and even attend an autopsy related to a criminal case.
Students in the C.J. club take part in community service activities. They help with the Estherville Halloween Association’s annual event, have adopted a section of highway and they conduct fundraisers in support of the Carlos Ledesma scholarship.
Academically, Gerstbrein and Fagre have been working with Regent Universities to educate them about the Criminal Justice program and ensure that coursework taken at Iowa Lakes transfers to those colleges. All of this is done as they continually consult with their advisory board to evaluate new techniques and emerging technology to ensure students are well prepared for the job market.
Bob Leifeld, Executive Dean of the Estherville campus, brought an application request for Registered Apprenticeship programs to the Trustees. With assistance from the Regional Electrical Inspector and support from many regional business partners, staff members have identified a need to train and assist electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians to help them meet the requirements to obtain their Journeyman’s License. The Trustees gave the go ahead for the college to apply to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship programs for approval.
Once approved, current credit students will have a venue to transfer their earned degree into practice as they build their portfolio of documented training and on-the-job hours to meet state requirements to obtain a Journeyman’s License. This would also allow the college to serve those already employed in the field who do not have their Journeyman’s Licensure by providing a local option where their employer could contract with Iowa Lakes to include non-credit training.
In other business, scholarship applications are coming in to the college and interested individuals are reminded that the deadline date is April 1.
Also during the meeting, the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees presented the results of the FY14 audit. Williams and Company, Spencer, reported that the audit was “in conformity with accounting principles…” Ebony Rahe from Williams and Company was on hand for the presentation by Bob L’Heureux, Vice President of Administration. The audit was accepted by the Trustees.
On the subject of budgets, the Trustees held a public hearing on the published budget for the 2016 Fiscal Year. And, they approved a new five-year contract – including an equipment upgrade – with River Valley Telecommunications Coop for Internet service in the housing units on the Emmetsburg and Estherville campuses.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees is set for Tuesday, March 17, at the new Sustainable Energy Resources and Technologies facility on the Estherville campus.