CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) — John Deere Waterloo will be gifting $750,000 to the University of Northern Iowa through the UNI Foundation for the university’s Industrial Technology Center renovation and modernization project.
UNI’s $40.5 million request for the state to fund the project was approved in 2020. While the state is funding the three-year project, John Deere’s contribution will go towards a $4.2 million private fundraising campaign for furnishing and equipping the new facility.
According to a release from the university, John Deere is the largest recruiter of UNI Department of Technology graduates. John Deere’s $750,000 gift to the department is their largest to the university to date, but the company also advises academic programs and invests in students.
“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,” Becky Guinn, factory manager of Waterloo Works, said. “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.”
The Industrial Technology Center was built in 1974 and after four decades, now lacks sufficient space and is in need of maintenance. The project will both renovate the existing spaces but also expand. The university says this expansion will allow the department to increase enrollment by 40 percent.
“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.”
You can read more about the renovation/expansion project here.