May 2013 -- From Cathann Kress
What do you get when you cross a 16-foot flatbed trailer, a plywood “cake,” some 28 people and a shiny red pickup truck? You get the ISU Extension and Outreach float in the 2013 VEISHEA parade. Three counties celebrating their extension centennial in 2013 were featured -- Wright, Worth and Clay -- making a difference for Iowans for more than 100 years.
VEISHEA is Iowa State’s annual spring celebration, one of its oldest traditions and one of the largest student-run festivals in the country. Pronounced VEE-sha, it stands for Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics and Agriculture -- Iowa State’s colleges in 1922, when the celebration began. Every year it serves as a showcase and display of the Iowa State community with a wide variety of educational and entertainment events. It makes sense that Extension and Outreach should be part of that showcase.
Extension and Outreach also was present in the VEISHEA Village. The Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) hosted a “Made in Iowa” booth, and the ISU North Central STEM Hub Festival brought together businesses and organizations to help youth and families see the connection between STEM education and the private sector. Extension and Outreach was pleased to participate in VEISHEA this year, and with the rest of Iowa’s counties celebrating their extension centennials over the next several years, perhaps we’re beginning a new VEISHEA tradition.
Midwestern extension swine specialists and agricultural engineers have created an educational workshop using a “field day on wheels” -- a swine ventilation training unit.
“Bio-security issues make it impractical to hold field days at live production facilities. We created the training unit as an educational field day site,” said Dave Stender, ISU Extension swine specialist. After applying what they’ve learned, pork producers report healthier air environments for workers and animals, production benefits and energy cost savings. Because of the unit’s success and demand, the Iowa team has acquired funding and is building its own unit.
Jerry Hultgren, environmental health and safety coordinator at MAHLE Engine Components in Atlantic, knows that a strong safety culture requires a team effort. He sought CIRAS’ assistance to conduct a safety walk-through to see if there were issues his team was missing. CIRAS looked at everything from machine guarding to proper chemical labeling and provided a full report.
“CIRAS offered the opportunity … to help us find areas where safety could be improved,” Hultgren said.
Thanks to We Lead, Iowa Workforce Development and West Liberty High School, juniors were able to take ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate exam. We Lead initiated the project to help students better understand the workforce skills they possess and help West Liberty determine a baseline to identify gaps in the local workforce’s skills.
“We Lead works in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach to spur economic development in rural communities,” said Karen Lathrop, extension specialist and former We Lead director. “This project aligns with extension initiatives for economic development and K-12 outreach.”
Extension specialists from the College of Human Sciences are working with CIRAS to improve the health and wellness of workers throughout the state, which in turn increases productivity and improves companies’ bottom line.
They’ve gone into three manufacturing companies -- The Graphic Edge in Carroll, Timberline Manufacturing Inc. in Marion and Rosenboom Machine & Tool in Sheldon -- to do free health risk assessments for 180 workers. The worksite wellness efforts include six months of intervention at the business, with follow-up after another six months to see what changes really stick.