Unison Solutions partners with NICC for customized training to grow its skilled workforce
Thursday, August 29, 2019
“Right now we're doing a planned expansion at Unison, and we're bringing several additional people on board. The 260E program that is available through the state of Iowa and Northeast Iowa Community College is helping a small company like ours grow."
DUBUQUE, Iowa—Employers in northeast Iowa that develop the skills of new employees can greatly impact their companies’ productivity, employee recruitment and retention, and profitability.
This holds especially true for training programs that are cost-effective, customized for each company and delivered by local experts. These are the benefits of the 260E Iowa New Jobs Training Program, legislation created in 1985 that establishes agreements between the state of Iowa, employers and community colleges.
Unison Solutions, Inc., in Dubuque participates in the 260E agreements administered by Northeast Iowa Community College, and the cost-effective training supports the company’s growth, according to Jan M. Scott, company president/co-owner.
“Right now we're doing a planned expansion at Unison, and we're bringing several additional people on board. The 260E program that is available through the state of Iowa and Northeast Iowa Community College is helping a small company like ours grow. Everybody knows the reality of the demand for skilled employees. We're willing to spend the time and the resources, and using the 260E funds will help us,” Scott explained. Unison Solutions’ 260E training projects have included supply chain management, lean manufacturing Six Sigma Green Belt and welding.
The cost of 260E training projects for companies is financed through bonds sold by the College. Depending on wages paid, the partnering business then diverts 1.5 or 3 percent of the Iowa state withholding taxes generated by the new positions to NICC to retire the bonds. Training is available at essentially no cost, since bonds are retired with dollars that otherwise would have been paid to the state as withholding taxes. These agreements facilitate growth and expansion for companies.
“Our work with local companies on their 260E job training projects, such as Unison Solutions’, help make possible business expansion, growth and higher productivity for their own workforce. Employers are also learning to do more with fewer people, due in large part to a tight job market and low unemployment in northeast Iowa. The keys are the 260E’s affordability and Northeast Iowa Community College’s customized approach – these are not one-size-fits-all training solutions,” said Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., NICC vice president of business and community solutions.
Unison Solutions plans to revisit training options through the 260E program in the future, as the company continues to expand. “We plan to add some supervisory training. Having 25 employees is a little different than the 55 employees we have today – and we're continuing to hire. In our 20-year history we have not used training programs like the 260E and we self-funded everything. This program provides more resources to do more training. We really appreciate what the state's doing and what the College has to offer for us,” Scott explained.
Northeast Iowa Community College currently has 85 open 260E training projects with companies to create 4,733 new jobs. Of these open projects, 60 percent of the businesses served are small businesses (up to 100 employees), 38 percent are medium-sized (100-500 employees) and 2 percent are defined as large businesses (500+ employees).
Locally in Dubuque County, the College has worked with companies on 158 projects that led to the creation of 8,972 new jobs since the 260E Iowa Jobs Training Program legislation was introduced in 1985. Since 1985 in its nine-county district area, NICC has coordinated 317 260E projects that helped generate 16,493 new jobs.
For more information on customized and contracted training services available for businesses through Northeast Iowa Community College, visit www.nicc.edu/workforceeducation.
ABOUT UNISON SOLUTIONS: Unison Solutions, Inc., will celebrate its 20-year anniversary in 2020. Unison is an industry leader in biogas conditioning, biogas upgrading and BioCNG vehicle fuel systems. Unison systems have been installed around the world at landfills, wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF), dairies and food processing digester plants. The company has manufactured gas conditioning and compression packages in sizes that range from 20 scfm up to 8,000 scfm. Its expertise in purifying biogas includes hydrogen sulfide removal, siloxane removal, CO2 removal, compression and gas quality monitoring. For more information, visit www.unisonsolutions.com.
ABOUT THE IOWA NEW JOBS TRAINING (260E) PROGRAM: The 260E provides businesses expanding Iowa’s workforce with new employee training and is designed to increase worker productivity and company profitability. The 260E is administered by Iowa's 15 community colleges and financed through bonds sold by the colleges. Depending on wages paid, the business then diverts 1.5 or 3 percent of the Iowa state withholding taxes generated by the new positions to the community college to retire the bonds. Training is available at essentially no cost, since bonds are retired with dollars that otherwise would have been paid to the state as withholding taxes.