The United Way of Wapello County is partnering with numerous business entities and community organizations to create a college going culture in Ottumwa. The partners include: Ottumwa Community Schools, Great Prairie Area Educational Agency, Indian Hills Community College, Sieda Community Action, Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, Ottumwa Economic Development, City of Ottumwa, Job Corps, John Deere Ottumwa Works, Iowa Workforce Development, Buena Vista University, Iowa State University Extension Service, and a variety of business and industry associates.
This initiative, known as C3, will tackle barriers preventing students from attaining college degrees while also coordinating access and services to increase college readiness.
Why the sudden urgency for change?
By 2025, 68% of all Iowa jobs will require at least some college; a college diploma/certificate, an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or advanced degree (Iowa: Education and Workforce Trends through 2025, Carnevale et. Al, 2015). According to census data, only 24.1% of Ottumwa’s population over the age of 25 has an associate’s degree or higher. In order to meet this demand for educated workers, as well as build and sustain a vibrant and healthy community, C3 must ensure that all students know and understand the steps to pursue and complete a college degree or credential.