To assist young North Iowans interested in the construction field, Tom and Linda Schaefer created the Schaefer Building Trades Scholarship for students in NIACC’s Building Trades Programs.
Tom Schaefer, president of Henkel Construction, said, “Henkel is growing, and one of our biggest challenges is finding qualified people. We hope that these scholarships will encourage more North Iowans to join the construction industry and improve their skills.”
Henkel Construction, a Mason City general contractor, is a member of the Contractor Advisory Association, a group of 10 local contractors who revived NIACC’s Building Trades Program in 1996 due to significant demand for skilled construction workers.
“There are many good employment opportunities here in Iowa,” Schaefer said, “but those jobs will only go to people with the right training.”
Individuals interested in construction can receive training though NIACC’s Building Trades Program. This diploma program is a year-long course of study with both classroom and on-the-job training. It prepares students for employment in residential, commercial, or industrial construction. The program has a very successful placement rate, and most graduates choose to live and work in North Iowa.
North Iowa is important to the Schaefers, as both spent much of their lives in the area. Tom is from Mason City, and Linda grew up in Rudd. Tom’s father worked for Henkel, and Tom joined the company after graduating from the University of Iowa. Linda, a 1970 graduate of NIACC, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree from Drake University. She taught at the Mason City Alternative School for 24 years.
The Schaefer’s are interested in training construction workers to fill Henkel’s employment needs; however, they also recognize the importance of affordable education and training for everyone. “With an excellent facility like NIACC in North Iowa, we need to establish scholarships to assist NIACC students in achieving their goals. Their education impacts both their own futures and the future of North Iowa. It is exciting for me to see students have success,” said Linda.