During the 2022 Condition of the State Address, Gov. Reynolds announced the new Iowa Health Careers Registered Apprenticeship Program aimed at both providing high school students with the opportunity to explore health care careers while getting paid and helping to address the health care workforce shortage.  

“Solving Iowa’s health care work force shortage requires a broad and wholistic approach comprised of both short and long-term strategies and investments,” said Gov. Reynolds. “There’s no better place to start than in our high schools—introducing students to simulated and hands-on learning in the health care field that could potentially turn into a life-long career. Our communities and health care industry will benefit greatly from developing these public-private partnerships and innovative collaborations.” 

The grant recipients will establish a new, or expand an existing, high school-based Registered Apprenticeship program modeled on the Patient Care Registered Apprenticeship Program launched last year at the Career Academy of Pella. The WorkSMART Connector Patient Care Registered Apprenticeship -- the first of its kind in Iowa – takes advantage of virtual reality training and real-world work experience with a local nursing facility and hospital. Before they leave high school, students can become a certified nursing assistant and be qualified for employment in a variety of health care careers, including medical surgical tech, lab tech, and phlebotomist. With some additional education after high school, they can also become qualified for employment as an OB tech or emergency department tech, become an RN or earn a BSN degree — all while getting paid. 

Award amounts may vary depending on the scope of the project, but can be utilized to purchase equipment, training materials, uniforms and other costs required to implement the program. Awardees will receive supplemental assistance from the State of Iowa to acquire simulation software and hardware to further enhance apprentices’ educational experience and readiness for the field. 

The application process will open beginning January 12. Applications and further information can be found here.