U.S. Department of Labor selects Iowa Department of Education to facilitate state’s first industry-recognized apprenticeship program
New IT career pathway will be launched with public and private partners
DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Education today announced it has received U.S. Department of Labor recognition to oversee development of a new career pathway program designed to help more Iowans gain the skills and knowledge needed for in-demand jobs.
Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, or IRAPs, will provide a flexible and customizable option that can be tailored to the workforce needs of businesses and expand opportunities for more Iowans to launch rewarding careers. IRAPs add to a robust menu of work-based learning programs available to Iowa employers.
“Iowa is a leader in using apprenticeship programs to expand economic opportunities for Iowans,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This announcement creates additional work-based learning opportunities for industries by providing a more flexible apprenticeship model tailored to employers’ needs. I am grateful to President Trump and Labor Secretary Scalia for their strong support of innovative policies that grow jobs, wages, and help Iowans find rewarding and sustainable careers.”
Information technology will be the first industry of focus for IRAP development, but IRAP eventually will be expanded to other industries and occupations. The Department of Education, in partnership with Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa’s community colleges will meet with industry leaders in the information technology field next month to develop standards and related performance requirements for occupations including those in software development, database administration and cybersecurity, among others.
“Helping more Iowans gain experience and earn market-driven credentials is key to getting the rewarding jobs they deserve and employers need filled to grow,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “I am proud that the Iowa Department of Education is able to help move this initiative forward.”
“IRAP will provide Iowa employers with another option for growing and expanding a skilled workforce,” said Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “We are excited to work with businesses across the state to expand new opportunities in industries where apprenticeships have been underutilized.”
The Iowa Department of Education is one of 18 organizations across the country to be recognized as a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE). The SREs are third-party industry and workforce leaders that will evaluate, recognize and monitor IRAPs that provide apprentices with industry-recognized credentials. SRE recognition is valid for five years. The IRAP initiative grew out of President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order to expand apprenticeships for job-seekers across the nation. It will provide a new career pathway in addition to the growing number of Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Iowa.