MUSCATINE, Iowa — In its own way, Muscatine Community College, one of the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, is becoming the center of the world.
Every year students from around the world enroll for classes at the college. In addition, MCC's own students take trips abroad, including a recent trip to China where they were joined by MCC faculty and MHS students.
MCC's global reach grabbed the attention of other countries in June when the college welcomed nine students from Jordan and Haiti, who visited for an in-depth, 10-day education in American entrepreneurship.
“It’s a very focused visit with the students immersed in how businesses operate in this country,” said Jeremy Pickard, a former MCC faculty member and current EICC International Education Director. “Most of these students have ideas for businesses they would like to start in their own countries and will take what they learn here to develop a business plan for those ideas.”
Those business ideas run a wide gamut. For instance, Ketura Jean-Louis from Haiti wants to design and make clothing, and offer imports. Qusai Damrah of Jordan has plans for a waste management system that involves creating aluminum ductwork into which apartment dwellers will be able to drop their garbage and have it slide into a large, outside container.
The Jordanian students are participating in the Institute for Future Entrepreneurs Exchange, a partnership between EICC and the Jordanian Al-Quds College. Funding for the trip came in part from Higher Education for Development and the United States Agency for International Development. The Haiti students paid their own way to be a part of the experience.
“The students are splitting their time between Muscatine, the Quad Cities and even Kalona,” Pickard said. “We’re really giving them a wide view of business in this country, from large to small, chains to family-owned.”
In Muscatine the students visited Musco Lighting, Allsteel and the Muscatine History and Industry Center. In Kalona they toured Gehman Photography, the Kalona Cheese House, Fitness 24/7 and Petals Flower Shop as well as a nearby Amish farm. While in Davenport they went to Chick-Fil-A, the Blackhawk Hotel, Coffee Hound, SIS International Shop and EICC’s Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center.
Also in Muscatine, the students attended classes led by MCC instructors John Dabeet and Jim Elias on such topics as small business planning, banking and finance, and economics. The group finished up June 28 with a meeting with local SCORE mentors who helped them fine tune the business plans they developed during their stay.