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Iowa Department of Education awards start-up grants to expand college, career transition counselors

Date: Monday, January 24, 2022

Seven grants awarded to five community colleges in partnership with local school districts

DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Education today awarded seven $50,000 competitive grants to help establish new college and career transition counselor positions that will focus on preparing more high school students for success in college, postsecondary career training and the workforce.

Des Moines Area Community College, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Indian Hills Community College each were awarded one start-up grant, and Iowa Central Community College and North Iowa Area Community College were awarded two start-up grants to support new college and career transition counselors who will work in partnership with area school districts to support students and families with career exploration and the transition to college and career training. The college and career transition counselors will work closely with high school juniors and seniors during the school year as well as the summer after high school graduation and their first year of college or career training.

“Growing the number of college and career transition counselors across the state will help more students explore career opportunities and ensure they have the support they need for continued success beyond high school,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “I commend our community colleges and school district partners for their commitment to supporting high school students in their career exploration and ensuring a successful transition to college, postsecondary training and the workforce.”

The grants will support seven new college and career transition counselors who will work with students in 14 school districts across the state—Ballard, Belmond-Klemme, Clear Lake, Colo-NESCO, Davis County, Fort Dodge, Lake Mills, Moulton-Udell, Newell-Fonda, North Scott, Osage, Wayne, West Fork and West Hancock.

Supported by the federal Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as Perkins V, the three-year grants will help establish college and career transition counselors for academic years 2022-23 through 2024-25. To make these shared positions sustainable, ongoing funding will be provided by the colleges and districts.

Expanding college and career transition counselors statewide aligns with the state’s Future Ready Iowa goal, which calls for 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025.

This is the second year of awards. Last year’s awardees were Des Moines Area Community College, Hawkeye Community College, Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Valley Community College District, Kirkwood Community College and Western Iowa Tech Community College. Applications for a future three-year grant cycle will be open in 2023.

More information is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.