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Finding success through IVCE and MCC

TAMA – Inspired by the birth of his daughter, Abigail, and tired of struggling to get by for several years with minimum wage and temporary jobs, Kolin William Ferneau knew he needed an education in order to succeed and have a good life. He decided to go to Iowa Valley Education & Training Center (Tama County). Three and a half weeks later, on Oct. 30, 2015, he completed the High School Equivalency Diploma (HiSED) Program.

“It was the most amazing feeling of accomplishment, knowing that my hard work and decision were paying off,” Ferneau said. “My instructor helped my stride with a very kind push, and it was just the boost I needed.”

“I admire Kolin’s determination,” states instructor Ricarda Drummer. “He studied every day, even spending more than the required three hours per day. He is smart. He would ask questions and would argue until he was satisfied with the explanation.”

Ferneau immediately enrolled in the Marshalltown Community College Manufacturing Welding program. Ferneau said, “I graduated top welder of my class one year to the day after my HiSED graduation. I had a 3.23 GPA, which I believe isn’t bad for a 9th grade drop-out.”

“Within a year and two months, I now have a home, a very nice vehicle, and a little better feeling about myself. I currently work for CEI Equipment Company in Cedar Rapids, welding parts for our products, a broad range of aluminum feed transportation equipment. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but the accomplishments along the way make it worthwhile,” states Ferneau.

“Kolin was a standout student who demonstrated it’s possible to balance school and family life. He’s the perfect example of what programs like PACE are for,” says Jennifer Rice. Rice is the Pathway Navigator for the PACE Program (Pathways for Academic Career Employment) at Iowa Valley Continuing Education. She assist participants on their educational journey, working to identify and minimize barriers to success by connecting the students to appropriate community resources. The Pathway Navigator also works to access funding to assist with the cost of education.

When asked what his plans are in the near future, Ferneau said he also wants to be a Certified Electrician.

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