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Career Academy Incentive Fund


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The Career Academy Incentive Fund was created through the reauthorization of the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund in 2019. It provides targeted grants to support partnerships between school districts and community colleges that expand access to career academy programs, with a focus on programming delivered through regional centers. Annually, the Iowa Department of Education will award grants of up to $1 million for projects that best meet the criteria specified in statute (the number of grants issued will be based on the amount of available funds and types of applications received).

Career Academy Incentive Fund Overview Information

Apply now for the 2021-2022 Career Academy Incentive Fund application cycle

The Iowa Department of Education is currently accepting applications for the Career Academy Incentive Fund, fiscal year 2022, first round. See the Application and Resources section below for the application and supporting materials. Submit application and supporting documentation to Jen Rathje at by October 29, 2021. 


To be eligible, applications must include one school district and one community college. Proposals for new career academies delivered collaboratively between multiple school districts and a community college through a regional center will receive priority consideration.

Career Academy

According to the Iowa statute, career academies are career-oriented programs of study that link secondary career and technical education to a postsecondary education program. The career academy concept has three key elements:

  1. Concurrent enrollment coursework where students earn both high school and college credit upon successful completion of community college coursework.
  2. A sequence of coursework with a career theme which provides an appropriate foundation for entrance into the postsecondary program.
  3. Strong partnerships between employers, school districts, higher education institutions and the community.

Regional Center

A regional center is a facility for the delivery of career and technical education programming. Regional centers must:

  • Provide access to at least four career academy programs.
  • Serve either a combined minimum of 120 students from at least two school districts or a minimum of four school districts.

Application and Resources

2021-2022 Submission Instructions - Career Academy Incentive Fund

2021-2022 Career Academy Incentive Fund (CAIF) Application

2021-2022 Career Academy Program Application

2021-2022 Career Academy Incentive Fund Scoring Rubric

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on September 18, 2021 at 2:04pm.