Gov. Reynolds announced the launch of a first-in-the-nation Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Grant Program Tuesday during her annual Condition of the State Address.  

The grant program will provide opportunities for current high school students to earn a paraeducator certificate and associates degree and paraeducators to earn their bachelor's degree all while learning and working in the classroom. The program will begin in the 2022-2023 school year.  

“This is a transformational opportunity that puts our schools at the center of growing their future workforce,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I can’t think of a better place to recruit our future generations of teachers and paraeducators than in our own classrooms. Through this first-in-the-nation experience today, we'll be shaping our educators of tomorrow.”  

The Iowa Department of Education (DOE) and Iowa Workforce Development Agency (IWD) will use $9M in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief (ESSERIII) funds to create the model program which will train and educate current high school students and paraeducators for the next step in their teaching careers while they learn, work, and get paid in Iowa schools. 

Through the grant program, school districts will be required to partner with local community colleges or four-year colleges/universities to provide the required education and training. The DOE and IWD will provide up to $40,500 over a three-year period for each high school student that completes the Paraeducator Certificate or Associates degree model. The DOE will provide up to $47,000 over a two-year period for each paraeducator that completes the bachelor’s degree model. Funding will support:   

  • Tuition and fees up to $7,000/year for up to three years at a community college. 

  • Tuition and fees up to $17,000/ year for up to two years at a public or private four-year college/university. 

  • Hourly rate of $12 for high school aides while still in school and 50% of wages that districts currently pay for aides and paraeducators for up to 30 hours per week for 36 weeks.  

The grant application, deadlines and further information can be found here.