By Daniel Salazar
“We were struggling but this program helped us out,” said Miguel Salcedo, a Muscatine resident and former MCC student.
He joined more than 20 community leaders meeting at MCC Jan. 29 with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg on Future Ready Iowa Fueling the Future pilot project.
The program focuses on developing the next generation of workforce in Iowa for high demand jobs. It unites MCC, community government and business leaders to reach out to adults in low-income families of elementary- aged children receiving weekend backpack food subsidies in Muscatine. That’s about 4 percent of all Muscatine public school students.
The program offers a six-week intensive “earn while you learn” training.
“With this grant, MCC will have the opportunity to serve 24 families and give them access to education and a chance for a higher paying, more stable position,” MCC President Naomi DeWinter said. “The two programs can be seen as on-ramps to furthering their education and can lead to further degrees and certificates. We are also looking forward to the kids in the selected families being inspired by their parents going to college, which may help them set a new goal for themselves, as well.” she said.
Salcedo said times were tough when he and his wife Malinda learned of the program. With 7 children and a job laying cement, he was struggling to make ends meet.
“They said they needed welders and I jumped on it. I got another job that offered me more money…now I’m the only one that welds doing concrete forms,” he said.
This isn’t the end for Salcedo. Now that he’s been to Muscatine Community College, he wants to go back to school, as he feels that there is a lot more to learn. This inspired Malinda to go from stay at home mom to college student.
“I want to work with children, so I was thinking about being a nurse in the maternity department, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.” she said.
Originally from California, Salcedo has come a long way according to him. “I was a pretty bad kid in L.A.,” he said and has physical scars to prove it. “Then I moved here and met Malinda. The Iowa curse is for real. I fell in love and stayed here.”
For Miguel and Malinda, there is always room for more opportunity.
“ I feel the love, from everyone, from Chris and Samantha the instructors, the president, everyone here had my back. They would help me with babysitting and take me to walk throughs. Everybody helped me out,” he said.
“Seeing them want you to succeed makes you want to succeed even more,” Malinda said.