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State grants go to four community colleges to support career academies

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State grants go to four community colleges to support career academies

Jun 13, 2024 | 5:07 pm ET
By Brooklyn Draisey
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State grants go to four community colleges to support career academies
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Four community colleges across Iowa will use state grants to launch and expand their career academies, serving high school students. (Photo by Kathie Obradovich/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Four community colleges will use grants provided by the state to launch or expand career academies for students to get a head start in a high-demand career.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education awarded $1 million each to Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, Iowa Western Community College and Iowa Valley Community College District, and almost $618,000 to Iowa Central Community College through the Career Academy Incentive Fund, according to a news release.

“The Career Academy Incentive Fund is an innovative, results-based program that provides high school students with opportunities to gain valuable experience and helps build a strong talent pipeline in our local communities,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds in the release. “I applaud Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, Iowa Valley Community College District, Iowa Western Community College and Iowa Central Community College for their work to grow career academies that prepare students for in-demand careers here in Iowa.”

Since 2019 the Career Academy Incentive Fund has provided grants to support partnerships between community colleges and school districts, who collaborate on programs for students to learn technical and educational skills and earn high school and college credits, as well as job credentials. It is funded through Secure an Advanced Vision for Education, a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure, the release stated.

Iowa Western Community College will offer career academies in cybersecurity, robotics, precision agriculture and mass digital communication to students from five school districts with the creation of a new regional center in Glenwood, supported by the grant.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges will utilize its grant funds to develop new lab space at its Muscatine Industrial Technology Center, the release stated, supporting career academies in computer numerical control engineering, digital modeling for manufacturing, engineering technology and welding. The center works with six area school districts.

Iowa Valley Community College District’s automotive repair technician career academy, located in Grinnell, will also see expansion through the grant. The district will also work to grow enrollment from six local school districts in other academies, including health sciences, manufacturing and business administration.

Iowa Central Community College will purchase new health science equipment for its North Central Career Center, serving four area school districts.

“We commend the awardees for their leadership in realizing our shared priority to empower all students with multiple pathways to postsecondary success, changing lives and strengthening communities,” said Department of Education McKenzie Snow in the releases.