Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: June 29, 2023
Contact: Jesse Dougherty
Telephone: 515-725-5487

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Iowa Awards $1.25 Million of Grants to Improve Work-Based Learning
Awards will boost cooperation between businesses and schools, create opportunities for students

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the awarding of more than $1.25 million in state grants to fund the creation and development of new work-based learning programs for Iowa high school students.

The Statewide Intermediary Work-Based Learning Grants will fund programs that give students one-on-one contact with potential employers and help them make informed decisions about postsecondary education and careers. Grants to the announced awardees will support more than 450 technical assistance meetings between schools and employers across the state with the goal of creating a minimum of 50 new internship programs and 47 new registered apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship programs.

The announced $1.25 million includes awards to recipients in 13 Iowa community college regions. In two community college regions (Hawkeye and Southwestern), no organization sought the funding. Grant applications now will reopen in those two areas until July 13 to encourage entities in those regions to apply. (View details below)

Work-based learning programs have long been a priority for the state of Iowa because they help high school students become more engaged in career decision making. According to Iowa’s Area Education Agencies, the number of students exiting high school without a post-secondary plan continues to grow every year while the number of students who enroll in a post-secondary training program is declining.

Eleven of the 13 grants were awarded to Iowa community colleges. Two of the awards are going to new programs being launched by Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades and Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa.

Money was awarded based on geographic community college regions, but the application process was open to community colleges, Iowa educational organizations, nonprofit organizations, and local workforce development boards, as well as any other organization with the capacity to provide students sustained interactions with industry or community professionals in a real worksite environment.

Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development, praised the new ideas and new opportunities that increased competition will provide.

β€œIowa needs more workers, so we need to do everything possible to show Iowa young people that they can find strong, rewarding careers without having to leave their home state,” Townsend said. β€œWe welcome any program that can help students engage with the work world, explore their options, and make smart decisions about their futures.”

Visit this link for more information on the grants, including a summary of the awardees.

Applications for the remaining funding in the Hawkeye and Southwestern community college regions will be accepted on starting today through 2:00 p.m. on July 13. Applications will only be accepted from applicants in the two regions above.

Interested applicants should consult the Iowa Workforce Development website or view this prerecorded webinar about the application process.