October 28, 2010 | Adam Sorensen | Leave a comment The Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) has recently announced that it has received a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to fund the development of a chemical technician program, reports the Decorah Newspaper. The college received a $123,625 grant through the NIFA’s New Era Rural Technology Competitive Program to support an agriculture-based renewable energy program. The money will focus on enrollment and instruction of newly enrolled students. Currently, the program can be taken in a hybrid format. The curriculum is six courses which includes five online classes and in-person laboratory studies. "This program will expand our capabilities to teach advanced science coursework, while offering a career path in an emerging career field. The skills these students will learn will be transferable to any chemical laboratory," Curt Oldfield, NICC vice president of academic affairs, told the news source. College officials told the newspaper that the demand for skilled technicians in this field is expected to increase because of the growing focus on food-borne contamination. According to a 2009 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical technician professionals can earn average annual salaries ranging between $32,640 and 53,490.