Jesse Shepherd with SWCC officials

Published July 9, 2015 9:21 am

July 8, 2015, Des Moines, IOWA -  Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, a non-profit initiative spreading the word about gainful career opportunities in manufacturing, has awarded 10-$500 scholarships to recent Iowa high school graduates entering manufacturing-related courses of study at Iowa’s 15 community colleges.  Jesse Shepherd of Creston, who will attend Southwestern Community College in the fall, is one of the recipients.

 “Manufacturing firms supply more than 208,858 jobs to Iowans,” said Michel Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “These well-paying careers require education and training beyond high school, but don’t require the often burdensome cost of a bachelor’s degree. Recent studies have shown that two-year degree holders, especially in high-demand manufacturing occupations, can earn salaries that surpass those of college graduates.”

In addition to a $500 scholarship, Elevate scholarship recipients will be honored at Iowa’s Advanced Manufacturing Conference on September 30, 2015.

The scholarship awardees are:
•    Blake Bertrand of Elk Point, attending Western Iowa Tech Community College
•    Josh Deggendorf of Danville, attending Kirkwood Community College
•    Keith O’Dell of South Sioux City, NE, attending Northwest Iowa Community College
•    Jesse Shepherd of Creston, attending Southwestern Community College
•    Jacob Arrowood of Newton, attending Des Moines Area Community College
•    Gunner Miller of Unionville, attending Indian Hills Community College
•    Cody Wegner of Marble Rock, attending North Iowa Area Community College
•    Tyler Rasmussen of Forest City, attending Iowa Lakes Community College
•    Derek Kohlmeyer of Sumner, attending Hawkeye Community College

For more information about manufacturing careers, visit

Elevate Iowa ( is a statewide, integrated marketing campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing. The initiative is directed by a coalition of all 15 Iowa Community Colleges represented by the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Consortium, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the private manufacturing sector and the State of Iowa. The initiative is funded in part by the I-AM Consortium, which is 100 percent financed through a grant from the Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. Elevate Iowa offers resources to the public specifically targeting those eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers, unemployed/underemployed Iowans, U.S. veterans, along with K-12 students and their families.

Pictured in photo at top (L to R):  Beth Kulow, SWCC dean of student services; Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president; Jesse Shepherd; Shannon Shepherd, Jesse’s mom; Rachel Ramaeker, SWCC coordinator of secondary programs; and Ann Schlapia, SWCC Workplace Learning Network coordinator.