Industry Partners


Industry partnerships ensure our programs meet the needs of employers and our students get the hands-on experiences they need for success.
Hands-on experiences are the backbone of the IGNITE Pathways program. 

Our industry partners are invaluable, not only because they help us ensure our curriculum is relevant to the ever changing business environment, but also because they can help provide experiences outside the classroom. 

As an example, our mechanized ag class was one of our pilot courses and was built from the specific needs of one of our business partners, Natural Fertilizers.  Superintendent Wagner sat down with the owner of Natural Fertilizers, Abe Sandquist and asked, “What do you need?” Together they worked through the specific skills that would make a student a value add on day one, and they wrote it on a napkin.  And that became our first IGNITE  business partnership.



Today, our business partners are the foundation of IGNITE Pathways’ curriculum. 

These business owners and their teams give input on curriculum, provide in-the-field experiences for our students, and offer internships and apprenticeships that give our students opportunities they wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Business Partners in four fields of study...Welding, HVAC/R, Social Media Marketing, and Residential Carpentry...have already benefited from trained students from the IGNITE program joining their businesses as apprentices.

And we welcome new Business Partners to benefit as well.


Abe Sandquist founded Natural Fertilizer Services, Inc. (NFS) in 2007 on the heels of his employment with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. While developing Nutrient Management Plans as a soil conservationist, he learned that there were many agricultural waste products not being used to their maximum potential by crop and livestock producers.

After explaining these nutrient management plans to producers, many were surprised at how much their waste products could be worth if they were used effectively and applied in a professional and scientific manner.

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A host of individual industry experts support our students, sharing their specific skills, expertise, and experiences in their field.

Experts offer students the opportunity to learn from someone who is in the industry they are studying, so they gain an understanding of what it takes to be successful in their career path.

This hands-on, in the field learning, from rebuilding a tractor, to fixing an HVAC unit, to participating in social media strategy meetings with real "clients," helps students to fully understand what it's like to work in the industry and supports them in making the right career choices.

Become A Partner


There are many different ways to get involved as a Business  Partner or Industry Expert. Have experience to share? Speak to a class as a guest speaker or invite students to take a field trip to your business to understand how your operation works.  

Have a business looking to train employees of the future? We have Business Partners, such as Tommy Gate that provide work experiences for our Registered Apprentices, or Curtis Lee, who is a certified flight instructor, and is our Instructor for our aviation course work.  

The simplest way to become a partner is to join one of our Advisory Boards and let your voice be heard on what our students need to know to be successful in your field. To explore options, contact Michelle Barry at


Iowa Jobs America's Graduates

iJAG is a premier non profit organization that partners with schools to create a bridge between public education and the workforce. iJAG supports student academic success and workforce skill building while helping employers develop the work-based learning experiences that propel students toward living-wage jobs. This program focuses on six core skill sets: Personal Skills, Basic Skills, Leadership Skills, Job Attainment, Job Survival and Career Development. Over the last 21 years this organization has mastered their approach through Project Based Learning, Trauma Informed Care and Employer Engagement.

In iJAG, Education Specialists help students to understand their personalitiestemperament and the relationship between personal actions and the consequences that follow. 


Ready to explore what’s possible? Reach out here and we will set up a collaboration meeting.
Let’s IGNITE the Path to a bright future for our students.

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Become a Partner

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