Central Campus animal science and horticulture instructor Kevin Anderson looks young, but he must have a little Old MacDonald in him. With a click-click here and a click-click there, he became the first teacher in the state to take part in a program called Future Ready Iowa and Tuesday morning Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds came calling to recognize him for that distinction.
By tapping into the new virtual Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning, Anderson secured an opportunity for his students to design an implement called a chicken tractor that’s most easily described as a compact, mobile incubator for baby chicks.
Gov. Reynolds chose the DMPS aviation tech lab on County Line Road as the site to announce that the clearinghouse and the Iowa Employer Innovation Fund (another state program aimed at increasing the supply of skilled workers) are both up and running. The facility is next door to the animal science & horticulture program’s greenhouse and classrooms and construction is nearing completion on a new ag science lab adjacent to the aviation academy. That expansion will only add to the community college vibe that’s already in the air on the campus that lies between McCombs Middle School and Studebaker Elementary School.
“I can’t think of a better place to make these announcements,” said Gov. Reynolds. She lauded the Central Campus career ed menu for “providing students with authentic professional experiences where they can test drive careers.” Or, as CC likes to bill itself: Iowa’s Premier Regional Academy for Advanced Career Programs.
Anderson pointed out that he’s used to speaking to a roomful of teenagers, not dignitaries and media types, but he made the most of his chance to reach a wider audience.
“I encourage all of my fellow teachers, regardless of subject area, to check out the clearinghouse online,” he said. “It’s quick and easy and you’ll find links for project ideas and business partners; all kinds of helpful information that enhances our curriculum.”
Anderson thanked Gov. Reynolds for “helping give students opportunities to work on real-world problems,” and made sure to mention the work underway next door.
“Des Moines Public Schools invested $2.7 million in this new ag lab that will enable us to expand urban ag education,” he said.
Imagine a final exam that consists of designing an actual device for use by poultry farmers in the state that already leads the country in egg production.
Can we get an E-I-E-I-O? Better yet, an I-O-W-A.