Skip to main content
Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Gov. Reynolds awards $1.5 million in career academy grants to prepare more students for high-demand fields

Date: Monday, May 23, 2022

DES MOINES - Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education today awarded $1.5 million in competitive grants through the Career Academy Incentive Fund to prepare more high school students for success in college, postsecondary training and the workforce.

Western Iowa Tech Community College was awarded a $1 million grant to increase access to career academy programs in high-demand fields through a new regional center in Denison. Indian Hills Community College was awarded $500,000 for an expansion of the Hills West Regional Center in Centerville. 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 fourth round of awards.

“Expanding career academies develops our workforce talent pipeline and prepares high school students for high-skill, high-demand careers that are available right here in Iowa,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I commend Western Iowa Tech and Indian Hills for their leadership in growing career academies where students can explore careers available in their communities while earning valuable industry experience and college credit.”

Western Iowa Tech’s grant will be used to create a new regional center in Denison that will serve students from five rural districts in western Iowa: Denison, Boyer Valley, Maple Valley-Anthon Oto/Charter Oak-Ute (MVAOCOU), Odebolt-Arthur-Battle Creek-Ida Grove (OABCIG), and Woodbine. The regional center will provide students with access to career academy programming in agriculture, business, electrical and education.

Indian Hills will use the grant to expand career academy programs at the Hills West Regional Center. The college was originally awarded a $1 million grant for the initial development of the regional center in February 2021. Business, health sciences (nursing/certified nursing assistant), social work and sports medicine academies will be added to the current programming, which includes agricultural sciences, construction technology, industrial maintenance and welding technology.

“Expanding access to programming in high-demand fields through these innovative regional centers will help more students leave high school prepared for the workforce or ready for further postsecondary education and training,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “I am thankful to these community college, school district, business and community leaders for working together to help more students access high-quality, capital-intensive programs that would be cost prohibitive for individual schools to provide on their own.”

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 fifth round of funding through the Career Academy Incentive Fund will open in August. More information is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.