Landus pledges $50K for career academy

Landus Cooperative has announced its support for the regional career academy approved this week by voters.
 

The cooperative’s board of directors late Thursday announced a five-year pledge to the career academy totaling $50,000, calling it an innovative approach to recruiting, educating and retaining area talent.

“In an environment where a large portion of our employees are already eligible for retirement and the unemployment rate is at historic lows, we must attract talented workers to remain in rural Iowa,” Landus Cooperative CEO Milan Kucerak, a Jefferson resident, said in a statement. “For our farmer-members, there must be jobs and educational opportunities to allow the fifth or sixth generations to stay on the farm.”

Kucerak pointed to the increased pace of change in agriculture — from autonomous tractors to unmanned robots that can pluck weeds from field rows — and the need for a skilled workforce.

Ames-based Landus Cooperative is Greene County’s largest property taxpayer, according to Kucerak, paying nearly $650,000 last year.

By approving a $21.48 million bond issue Tuesday, voters in the Greene County Community School District green-lighted construction of a new Greene County High School and a regional career academy to be equipped and staffed by Iowa Central Community College, all on about 80 acres of land just west of AAI along U.S. Highway 30.

The referendum passed 68.68 percent Yes to 31.32 percent No.

The college will offer training and college credit to high school juniors and seniors in four strands: computer software, precision agriculture, advanced manufacturing and the culinary arts.

The new high school should be ready for the 2020-21 school year.

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