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STEM grants boost Lee County Career Advantage Center to August opening

Lee County EDG
Submitted Photo
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Lee County EDG
The former KL Megla building in Montrose is now home to the Lee County Economic Development Group. Soon the back portion of the building will house the Lee County Career Advantage Center.

After seven years of collaboration and planning, the Lee County Career Advantage Center will open this fall.

Dana Millard, Project Director for the Lee County Economic Development Group, said the center has been a joint effort between Lee County schools, Southeastern Community College, business and industry leaders, and economic development officials.

The goal is to help students discover their capabilities, and then point them toward work opportunities available in Lee County.

“We are very excited to further our goal of connecting Lee County students with the skills they need to meet their career goals and explore local career opportunities,” Millard said.

The project got a big boost from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

Fort Madison, Keokuk, and Central Lee schools were each awarded $40,000 through the council’s STEM BEST HD Program for 2021.

That program is designed to prepare students for the workforce in sectors including computer science, information technology, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Fort Madison will use the funds to pay for design and renovation of the space.

Keokuk’s portion will go towards furnishing the four classrooms planned for the first phase of renovation.

Central Lee’s grant will pay for technology in the classrooms, such as interactive display panels.

The Lee County EDG moved to new offices at the former KL Megla building in Montrose at the beginning of this year.

The back portion of that building will now become the Lee County Advantage Center, opening in August.

Millard said the center’s location is exactly in the middle of the three school districts.

“It is an easy commute from all three school districts for students in order to participate so we’re not singling out one particular community over the other,” Millard said.

The centralized location also will make it easier for business and industry leaders to participate in events and programs at the center.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.