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In order to meet the immediate and longer-term workforce needs of the industries critical to Iowa’s economy, we must commit to developing occupational awareness and readiness in Iowa’s PreK-12 school students at an early age.

Governor Reynolds has long been an advocate for work-based (WBL) learning opportunities that prepare Iowa’s youth for their future.

The Governor has set an expectation that WBL is integrated into Iowa’s public schools:

  • By 2023, 75% of Iowa school districts will have one or more school-business partnerships; and
  • By 2024, all high school students will participate in at least one WBL experience.

These opportunities not only introduce students to endless career possibilities and inspire them to discover their own paths, they also offer strategic solutions for employers to plan for future growth.

Governor Reynolds proposes:

  • Further expanding and integrating WBL programs into Iowa schools.
  • Growing and retaining Iowa’s education workforce.

WBL programs give students hands-on, real-life professional experiences that build knowledge and skills leading them to additional education, training or immediate employment following graduation.

  • Expand WBL availability throughout Iowa by making it easier for industry professionals without a teaching background to supervise WBL programs by completing a one semester online course.
  • Integrate WBL and completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) into individual career and academic planning (ICAP).
  • Require school districts to report metrics on the types of and participation in WBL programs.

Schools in Iowa and nationwide are experiencing a shortage of teachers. Since the start of the pandemic, more teachers have retired early or left the profession. But another factor impacting the situation is a decrease in students and young professionals choosing education as a career path. Iowa much address this issue head-on by retaining current teachers and attracting young Iowans to this rewarding career.

Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program

Iowa schools are the ideal environment to recruit and develop future teachers. By providing a unique, tuition-free educational opportunity that leads to a degree while earning a paycheck, Iowa can build its education workforce from within.

  • Create a Registered Apprenticeship pilot program that recruits and trains nearly 200 future educators.
  • The pilot program offers distinct pathways for current high school students and for currently employed certified paraeducators.
  • The program pays for all required education classes for both pathways.
  • High school students earn $12/hour while working in area schools as part of the program. Student wages are paid by the program, not the school district.
  • The program pays for 50% of certified paraeducator wages. The remaining 50% of wages are covered by their school district of employment, resulting in a reduction of their labor expenses.
  • Upon completion of the Registered Apprenticeship program, high school students will have earned an associate degree and a paraeducator certificate. Paraeducators will have earned a bachelor’s degree and be recommended for a teaching license.

Teacher Retention Bonus

Throughout the pandemic, countless educators across Iowa remained on the job and at the service of their communities, while too many other states left schools closed. Our state is grateful.

  • Award $1,000 one-time retention bonuses to teachers who stayed on the job through the pandemic and will continue teaching next school year.