Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education today awarded four $1 million competitive grants through the Career Academy Incentive Fund to prepare more high school students for success in college, postsecondary training and the workforce.
Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Western Community College and North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) each received a $1 million grant to increase access to career academy programs in high-demand fields through new regional centers. Students in partnering school districts will benefit from industry partnerships, earn high school and college credit and gain technical and traditional academic skills offered through career and technical education (CTE) programs. This is the third round of awards.
“Expanding career academies develops our workforce talent pipeline and prepares high school students for high-skill, high-demand careers that are available right here in Iowa,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I commend DMACC, Iowa Lakes, Iowa Western and NIACC for their leadership in growing career academies which inspire and develop some of Iowa’s most valuable workers beginning at a young age and, at the same time, expands opportunities to meet the needs of students, families, schools and employers in their local communities.”
DMACC’s grant will be used to create a new regional center in Templeton that will serve students from four rural districts in west central Iowa. Iowa Lakes will use the funding to establish a new regional center on its Spirit Lake campus that will expand career academy programming to students in four surrounding districts. Iowa Western will work with four rural school districts to establish a new regional center in Missouri Valley. NIACC will establish a new regional center in Charles City to serve students from seven school districts in north central Iowa. This is the second Career Academy Incentive Fund award for NIACC. The college was awarded the state’s first grant in 2020, which was used to establish the new John V. Hanson Career Center in Forest City.
At these new locations, students will have access to CTE programs and state-of-the-art equipment in high-demand fields, including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, building trades, electrical trades, health care, information technology and welding.
“These innovative partnerships are vital to introducing more students to high-demand fields in programs where they can earn industry-recognized credentials and college credit,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “The new regional centers will help more students leave high school prepared for the workforce or ready for further postsecondary education, and I am thankful to these community college and school district leaders for their dedication to expanding career academy opportunities.”
The Career Academy Incentive Fund was established by a 2019 law that extends a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure, called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE), through January 2051. At least $1 million will be awarded annually to support career academy partnerships among community colleges, school districts, business and industry, Regional Planning Partnerships, Area Education Agencies and others to increase student access to college programs, state-of-the-art equipment and career paths in Iowa’s in-demand fields.
Expanding student access to high-quality career and technical education is part of the Future Ready Iowa initiative, which is focused on growing a skilled workforce in all regions of the state by connecting more Iowans to the education and training needed for high-demand careers.
Applications for a fourth round of funding through the Career Academy Incentive Fund will be open next spring. More information is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.