Iowa Lakes Community College graduates last night - and area high schools next weekend - observed or will observe a major milestone as everyone processes across the stage and enters a new chapter of their lives.
Graduation, at whatever level, is quite an accomplishment. It represents a lot of work in the classroom, doing research and discovering new ideas and concepts. It remakes us, in a way, so we're able to look back on ourselves as less fulfilled versions of ourselves. And it gives us the tools to relate to people on a different level.
While jobs remain a concern in our economy, our graduates are well equipped to compete for those jobs. They have the technological training to do what's necessary on the job, and in many cases to quickly become leaders.
At Iowa Lakes, students will either go on to four-year universities or immediately enter the work force. Indeed, study after study shows that Iowa community college graduates have a far higher rate of remaining in the state, earning wages here, spending money here and raising families here. It was proven long ago that Iowa's investment in its community colleges has an immediate and direct impact on our state's economy.
Regardless of whether our graduates are leaving high school or college, they all have the skills they need to succeed, thanks to a strong work ethic, dedicated teachers and parents who want them to succeed.
So as they stand in the reception line, shake our graduates' hands. They're proud of what they've accomplished, and should be.