CNA, Welding Classes Now Offered at Iowa Western


Makinzie Kayl

Senior Makinzie Kayl is earning her CNA through Iowa Western. Photo provided by Makinzie Kayl.

Isabella Milone, Copy Editor

For the first time, Iowa Western Community College (IWCC) is offering their Welding and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) courses to high school students, so they will be able to take part and earn certifications.  

Three Glenwood students are currently taking these IWCC classes: senior Makinzie Kayl is taking the CNA course, and seniors Nate Vinton and Zach Chase are taking the Welding program. 

“I decided to take the class because I want to go into nursing and I knew that this was a great way to start,” said Kayl. “It’s a great stepping stone to get to the level of nursing I want to pursue. It will help me in the future by giving me experience working in a hospital setting at a low level. I get to interact and take care of patients but as for now, I don’t have to worry about all the important things that come with nursing.” 

Students who complete these courses will be able to earn their CNA or Welding certificates.

“The CNA course offered by IWCC specifically prepares students for the certification exam to earn a Certified Nurse Assistant credential,” said Counselor Jedd Taylor. “This program includes the clinical experiences required for this certification as well. The Welding Certificate program is actually comprised of six different Welding courses, three first semester and three second semester.” 

Previously, for Welding, IWCC only allowed students to take all 16.5 credit hours in one semester. Class times were from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. For Nursing, classes only ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day for two weeks. This was a huge disadvantage for high school students. 

“What IWCC has done is take a different approach that is more conducive for high school students,” said Taylor. “In Welding, instead of taking all six classes in one semester, our students are spreading that over two semesters. With the CNA, instead of an intense two weeks of training, that two weeks is spread over an entire semester. IWCC is also offering more programs like this in the areas of Culinary Arts and Industrial Technology.” 

Traditionally, many seniors have only taken IWCC classes to get out of school early and complete the general education classes most colleges require. In contrast, Kayl, Chase and Vinton start their days at IWCC and end their day at the high school. 

“The real purpose of taking IWCC classes is to shorten the time and money spent in getting to a career,” said Taylor. “For those students who might not be college bound, these certificates provide an opportunity to get the training necessary to make them employable the day after graduation.” 

Taylor stresses that obtaining a certificate from IWCC doesn’t always mean training for that job is complete. 

“Earning any of these certificates is not necessarily the end of their training,” said Taylor. “There are more possibilities for training after these students get their Welding and CNA certificates, but again, the certificates might get them to the front of the line for a job where the employer will then pay for further training. These GHS students had to go to IWCC at different times and a couple more days per week, but they will walk out of HS immediately employable and with zero debt in a field that is in high demand.”

Chase feels that earning the Welding certificate will benefit him in the future

“Welding is an increasing job that pays extremely well,” said Chase. “The certificate will help me in job opportunities because it’ll show I have experience and that I’m certified in that job area. Taking the class in high school is totally a benefit because you don’t have to pay for college classes so it’s free. I recommend these classes to others because of the upcoming need for welders. It’s a good trait to learn and master while you’re young so you can do it for the rest of your life.” 

By taking an IWCC class like CNA or Welding, students will also get a great insight into the careers, and will be able to figure out if it’s a career they are willing to pursue.  

“The CNA course gave me a great insight as to what CNAs and nurses do,” said Kayl. “I have such a higher appreciation for them and it has made me want to pursue this career even more.”