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Governor Reynolds awards $4 million in career academy grants to prepare more students for high-demand fields

Date: Monday, December 5, 2022

$1 million each was awarded to Iowa Central Community College, North Scott Community School District, Northwest Iowa Community College and Southwestern Community College

"career academy incentive fund"DES MOINES — 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.

Iowa Central Community College, North Scott Community School District, Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) and Southwestern Community College (SWCC) 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 fifth round of awards.

“Expanding career academies develops our workforce talent pipeline and provides high school students with opportunities to gain valuable experience, connect with local employers and earn industry credentials and college credit,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I commend Iowa Central, North Scott Community School District, NCC and SWCC for their dedication and leadership in growing career academies that prepare students for high-skill, high-demand careers available here in Iowa.”

Iowa Central’s grant will be used to create a new regional center in Storm Lake that will serve students from five districts in northwest Iowa. North Scott Community School District is partnering with Eastern Iowa Community Colleges to establish a new regional center in Eldridge that will expand career academy programming to students in four surrounding districts. NCC will work with five rural school districts to establish a new regional center in Sioux Center. SWCC will establish a new regional center in Mount Ayr to serve students from five school districts in southwest Iowa. 

At these new locations, students will have access to CTE programs and state-of-the-art equipment in high-demand fields, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture equipment technology, automotive repair, construction, electrical maintenance and automation, engineering design, health care, information technology, teacher preparation and welding.

“Through these innovative partnerships we can introduce more students to high-demand careers, connect them with local employers and get them excited about their next steps,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “I am thankful to these community college and school district leaders for expanding career academy opportunities so more students leave high school prepared for the workforce or ready for further postsecondary education.”

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 sixth 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.

Career Academy Incentive Fund