OTTUMWA — The Legacy Foundation has awarded $423,000 to Indian Hills Community College to launch a Construction Technology program on the Ottumwa campus, further combating the housing issue in the community.
Students in the program will construct one new home per year in Ottumwa while earning a one-year diploma or two-year associate degree. Indian Hills has a long history of success with its Centerville Campus Construction Technology program, which is currently building its ninth home in Centerville. Centerville program instructor John Dorman will serve on the hiring committee for the Ottumwa campus instructor and mentor the new instructor to ensure that students in Ottumwa receive the same high-quality education that has made the Centerville program successful.
“Indian Hills Community College is excited to offer the Construction Technology program at the Ottumwa Main Campus with the support of the Legacy Foundation. Our goal is to continue finding programs and solutions that help meet the workforce’s needs and our communities. The new Construction Technology program will help future students gain skills desperately needed within the workforce and produce graduates prepared to work for area contractors,” said IHCC President Matt Thompson. “With Legacy’s investment, beginning fall 2022, we will begin construction of a house in Ottumwa that will also help address the housing needs within the community. We are grateful to the Legacy Foundation for this gift and know that it will create life-changing opportunities for future students.”
The strategic grant provided by the foundation will fund the cost of building materials for the program’s first home, in addition to other program start-up costs. The program will use a build and sell model, funding each subsequent year’s home with proceeds from the current year’s house sale. Indian Hills plans to complete and sell its first home in Ottumwa by May 31, 2023. College leaders hope to see at least 70% of the program students graduate with a diploma and obtain employment in the construction industry by the end of 2023.
The 2022 Ottumwa Housing Study estimates that 500 residences need to be added to the community by 2030 to bridge the gap in the local housing market. To help reach that goal, the Legacy Foundation also awarded $100,000 to the start-up of the Ottumwa High School Construction Trades program in 2021.
“One of the foundation’s strategic priorities is ‘To Expand Housing Availability.’ A critical component to achieving this is increasing workforce in our skilled trades. Investing in this program will infuse additional talent into the area while adding a quality built home each year,” said Legacy Foundation CEO Kelly Genners.
Funding both the Ottumwa High School and Indian Hills Community College programs will facilitate the addition of two homes per year in Ottumwa while increasing the skilled workforce, bringing our community one step closer to adding 500 homes in Ottumwa by 2030.