By UNI President Mark A. Nook and DMACC President Rod Denson
Long before the pandemic, Iowa’s business and higher education communities had been laying plans for the future of our state in a period of profound disruption to our workforce and economy. Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are re-envisioning our workforces and elevating the skill pre-requisites for proficiency at every level of employment. We are seeing an increased demand for diversity in the workforce, undergoing rapid change to the racial/ethnic diversity of our communities and experiencing a geographic shift of our population toward urban areas. While we work together to address current challenges, we must maintain our focus on the opportunities ahead of us. Beginning this fall, UNI at DMACC — a new, flexible degree program between the University of Northern Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College — will help address the needs of businesses and Iowans with a bold and exciting vision for the future.
UNI at DMACC in DSM
Located on DMACC’s Urban Campus, UNI at DMACC will provide students with the first public four-year degree offering in the heart of greater Des Moines (DSM). At the state’s only minority-majority serving campus — a vibrant learning environment with more than 70 languages spoken and 120 countries represented among its students — this partnership will provide access to a high-quality two-to-four-year degree pathway for people throughout the region, but especially in Des Moines’ urban core, many of whom are geographically bound due to work or family commitments. To start, UNI at DMACC will offer several degree programs online: Bachelor of Applied Science in Managing Business and Organizations, Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Liberal Studies, flexible degree programs in disciplines that directly feed Iowa’s dynamic, rapidly evolving, and diverse workforce. Students will also have full access to personalized and comprehensive support services designed to meet their needs and help them succeed.
Degree Pathways for Iowa’s Workforce Needs
UNI at DMACC is a game changer for many Iowans who have long aspired to complete a four-year degree — and it is just the beginning. Both institutions have long offered degree pathways that align with Iowa’s workforce needs. DMACC is proud to offer nearly 100 programs that lead to employment in Iowa’s in-demand occupations that require vocational training/certification or an associate’s degree. Ninety-four percent of UNI graduates complete a degree that aligns with at least one of Iowa’s high-growth/high-demand occupations. Additionally, UNI’s academic programs feed nine of the top 10 occupations with the greatest number of openings that require a four-year degree from now through 2024. We believe there are many opportunities to continue innovating for the benefit of our state and the students we serve.
We often hear from Iowa employers of the great need to elevate the skills of current and future employees. Not only have we heard you, we recognize the urgency of preparing current and future generations for success in their workplaces, homes and communities. It is critical that we continue this important work together to create new pathways and opportunities for learners so that each can pursue their personal, professional and academic life goals while contributing to the vitality of Iowa for years to come.