SIOUX CITY, Iowa — A Christian college in northwest Iowa is starting a new vocational program that will prepare students for work while giving them a foundation in their faith.

Dordt College President Erik Hoekstra told the Sioux City Journal ( ) the new two-year Pro-Tech program will fill a gap in Christian education offerings in the area.

The new program will enroll as many as 40 students next fall and offer them a combination of Christian education and vocational training.

Hoekstra says he believes there’s a need for such a program because of the number of students graduating from Christian high schools who might want a two-year vocational degree but didn’t have a Christian option.

“There’s a gap in Christian higher education,” Hoekstra said.

At a recent event promoting the program, a group of 17 prospective students visited Dordt and then toured Dykstra Dairy and the Kooima Company. The program will combine three days of classes with two days of internship work each week.

The internships will offer the potential to earn roughly $15,000 while enrolled in a program that costs $29,523 in tuition and fees.

“We want young people to start companies and run them to the glory of God,” Hoekstra said.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said he knows many companies in the area will welcome the program if it provides more job candidates.

“I know of a plant in northwest Iowa that cannot expand as they cannot find enough good people to expand operations or replace retirees,” Northey said.

Information from: Sioux City Journal,