The University of Northern Iowa’s project to renovate and modernize the Industrial Technology Center received a $750,000 commitment from John Deere Waterloo, one of the largest recruiters of UNI Department of Technology graduates. The investment is the lead industry gift to date to the capital project.
UNI's $40.5 million request to the state to fund a major renovation and expansion of the nearly five decades-old Industrial Technology Center was approved during the 2020 legislative session. John Deere’s gift will support a $4.2 million private fundraising campaign to furnish the new facility and to equip lab and classroom spaces with industry-standard technology.
“John Deere is excited to partner with the University of Northern Iowa on the renovation and expansion of the Industrial Technology Center. This modernization project aligns to the need for innovation and more advanced manufacturing technologies in our industry, which will also enable the future workforce. UNI is the only public university in Iowa with these specific technology degrees, which is an important pipeline of talent for the Cedar Valley,” said Becky Guinn, factory manager of Waterloo Works. “The Department of Technology specifically serves an important role in the state, as a large percentage of graduates continue employment in Iowa. John Deere’s Smart Industrial strategy is committed to cutting edge technology which is just one of the reasons for this investment and our continued collaboration with UNI.”
“We are grateful for John Deere’s investment to help UNI build the workforce tomorrow needs,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “This generous commitment to the Industrial Technology Center modernization project will provide our students with the tools to succeed in a 21st century economy and aid our efforts to grow the workforce pipeline for some of the highest-need industry sectors in the state of Iowa.”
John Deere has been a key corporate partner to the University of Northern Iowa over the past 50 years, recruiting graduates, advising academic programs and investing in the university and its students. The company is the largest private employer of Department of Technology alumni. The Industrial Technology Center gift is John Deere's largest to UNI, supplementing previous investments by the company and its employees in scholarships, faculty, equipment and academic programming.
UNI’s Department of Technology educates students for work in Iowa’s manufacturing, electrical/electronics, print and construction fields – all growing industries within the state. There is a 95% placement rate across the department’s programs; 90% of those graduates are placed in Iowa. Renovating and modernizing the 47-year-facility will support an anticipated 40% enrollment increase for the department and will expand UNI’s capacity to provide qualified professionals to industries struggling to meet growing employment needs.
John Deere’s gift was made to the University of Northern Iowa through the UNI Foundation.