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Alliant Energy gifts Backhoe to MCC Utility Technician Program

(L-R) MCC and Alliant representatives: Patrick Kennedy, Rick Dorsey, Lori Wildman, RJ Van Roekel, Carla Gall, Ron Estabrook, and Robin Lilienthal

MARSHALLTOWN – Alliant Energy has always been a strong supporter of the Utility Technician program at Marshalltown Community College. Recently the company showed its support by donating a Case 580K backhoe to the college.

“Our Utility Technician programs at MCC would not be successful without the support of utilities like Alliant Energy,” commented Rick Dorsey, Natural Gas Faculty. “It’s just one way Alliant gives back to the community.”

Along with donating the Case 580K backhoe, Alliant has donated a pickup truck, DeWalt tools, and Poly pipe that students will use in the MCC training field while learning gas construction.

Carla Gall, Alliant Senior Manager of Customer Operations and IPL Tech Training and Lori Wildman, Alliant Training Specialist, have been key in assisting the program, said Dorsey. They serve on the Utility Technician Advisory Board, conduct mock interviews with students and are consistently involved in improving programs to provide skilled students to the workforce. RJ Van Roekel, Alliant Senior Electric Training Coordinator, trains line mechanic apprentices, some of which have come from the Marshalltown Community College program.

“This donation is huge to our programs! New backhoes cost more than $80,000 each and those funds are not easily available to MCC. In just the first week of classes, our students have put more than 20 hours on the backhoe, providing them with key equipment skills needed to enter the utility industry. On behalf of MCC, I would like to thank Alliant Energy for this donation,” said Dorsey.

The MCC Natural Gas Technician and Power Line Technician programs’ roots were established in 2011. Alliant is one of several local businesses that have shown their support for this program. In 2011 Wildman served as the Utility Technician Program Director for the college district. The program was launched as a 10-week program through Iowa Valley Continuing Education. As the program grew, it became a Marshalltown Community College diploma Utility Tech program in the fall of 2013, and a 2-year AAS degree in 2014. It was during this time former Alliant employees Ron Estabrook (Natural Gas) and Bob Hiatt (Powerline) became the Instructors for the program.

The MCC Utility Technician program graduates have starting wages ranging from $23 – 30 an hour, with market potential of $34 – $48 an hour. These in-demand careers and potential salaries are among the factors that make the Utility Technician programs (and graduates) very desirable.

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