Engineering Technology Students at Northeast Iowa Community College

NICC Engineering Tech program prepares students for successful careers

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Northeast Iowa Community College Engineering Technology program is helping students secure their futures in the workforce.

The Northeast Iowa Community College Engineering Technology program is helping students secure their futures in the workforce; three working students are a great example of that outcome as they begin their careers before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) for Automation Engineering.

Nick Schreyer, Elliot Naughton and Keitan Chipperfield all found part-time positions with John Deere thanks to the technical skills acquired at NICC through hands-on experience with CAD, PLC programming, robotics and mechatronics, as well as with Lean, the understanding of continuous improvement processes and knowledge of the design process and technical design. 

“Being able to understand what people are talking about is a massive benefit, as well as knowing technical design terms for print drawings. Reviewing any of those and then being able to understand the processes that are used in the manufacturing facility gives us a better understanding of what's actually going on and what we're trying to achieve,” Nick said. 

Elliot Naughton says all of his NICC classes have helped him with his job at John Deere, “CAD classes, design classes, print reading; I know how to apply what I learned in the CNC machining class and data analytics. Many classes relate directly to something I do at work.”

The students credited their instructors for not only helping them with the job-related coursework but also for assisting them in transferring to UNI. Lisa Digman, Engineering Technology instructor, meets with the students to discuss what they want to do and takes it a step further by joining their meetings with UNI to help them select the best classes to take at NICC.  

The Engineering Technology program offers students a comprehensive education that prepares them for success in the workforce. The program's hands-on approach, technical skills training and flexible schedule make it an attractive option for engineering students. 

Nick says, “I've always wanted to do engineering. This program just seemed easy for me, and it's very hands-on. I'm not a big fan of reading textbooks. So being able to have that hands-on program and the flexibility was huge for me because it allowed me to still work as many hours I could.”

Keitan agreed, saying, “I was kind of similar to Nick. I wanted to do engineering, but I didn't want to be the type of engineer who sits at a desk all day and doesn't get to touch anything. So I wanted to do something more hands-on in this program. Now I can transfer my credits to UNI, which is huge for me.”

Transferring to four-year institutions makes the program a cost-effective way to obtain a four-year degree in engineering. Elliot also took advantage of the Last Dollar Scholarship. “The scholarship makes this a free engineering course, which you never see. Once I learned it transferred to UNI, it's just kind of a no-brainer being able to get a manufacturing engineering degree the same as any other four-year institution, with two years paid for,” he said.

To learn more about Engineering Technology and what a future career might look like for you, visit the Engineering Technology page. 

Tags: Northeast Iowa Community College, Engineering Technology, Students