Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority announced today that a total of more than $450,000 in grants have been awarded through six Empower Rural Iowa Grant Programs. The grant awards will support rural initiatives spanning from child care and housing to workforce attraction and leadership development in more than 20 counties.  

“I signed the Empower Rural Iowa Act in 2019 to ensure that the rural communities that are the heart of who we are as a state have the resources needed to connect, invest and grow,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Since then, Empower Rural Iowa grants have provided support for dozens of now thriving businesses, communities and entrepreneurs in our rural communities.” 

“I’m proud to serve as Co-Chair of Empower Rural Iowa and see first-hand the amount of inspiring ideas Iowans have to solve the challenges facing rural Iowa,” said Lt. Governor Adam Gregg. “The grant awards announced today will allow many of these solutions to move forward to help ensure that opportunity abounds in every Iowa community.”  

For example, the IGNITE Pathways program in Woodbine will leverage Rural Innovation funding towards creation of an automotive maintenance and care training program to address the lack of local options in this field. The need was identified through the research and analysis by a local high school program that focuses on developing innovative solutions to real, rural problems.  

In another example, Iowa Central Community College will use Rural Scale-Up funding to bring the successful career academies model to the western part of their region through the development of a new regional center in Storm Lake. This opportunity will enhance the learning capabilities, provide equitable access to high-quality career technical education programming, and help close opportunity gaps that exist in the region.  

In its inaugural year, the Rural Enrichment grant is funding eleven projects across the state, including “OkoboTree”, a visual art tree preservation project; a live music venue in an alley off Polk City’s main square; and downtown lighting project in Osceola.  

More information about the Empower Rural Iowa Grant programs is available at 

Download a complete list of these awards