July 2017 Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

Volume 7, Issue 1                                                                       July 2017                                                       www.educateiowa.gov

Inside this issue

Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation

Barbara Burrows
Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges

Pradeep Kotamraju
Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education

Heather Doe
Communications Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges

Report shows Iowa's sector partnerships on track.

A report released this month by the Iowa Department of Education (Department), in collaboration with Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Central Community College, shows the state is building a strong talent pipeline for employment and career progression.

The report, Inventory of Sector Partnerships in Iowa, was released during the meeting of the Iowa Sector Partnership Leadership Council. It identifies nearly 60 different sector partnerships throughout Iowa in varying stages of development and outlines their projects, goals, leadership structure, and challenges faced.

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Adult education, training: A foundation of performance leads to long-term success.

Mike Fazio

Mike Fazio, the keynote speaker for the 2017 Iowa Adult Education and Literacy Summer Conference, recently sat down with us to talk about priorities, innovation, and collaboration and the roles they play in a top-notch adult education and workforce system.

Fazio is the founder and CEO of Workforce180, a national workforce training and consulting organization, focused specifically on results-oriented activities. He and his team have assisted more than 400 workforce organizations, non-profits, schools, and government agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Canada. His more than 25 years of sales, management, and leadership allows Fazio to bring specific, proven methods of success to workforce and education professionals so they can achieve successful outcomes.

In this question-and-answer with Fazio, he reflects on today's collaborative workforce system and focuses on continuous improvement to better serve the most vulnerable of workers.

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Perkins claims due July 30.

The deadline for community colleges to submit all Perkins claims is quickly approaching! All outstanding Perkins claims must be submitted to the Department by July 30 so that they can be processed in a timely manner so that the Perkins funds can be distributed to each community college.  

Questions about claims can be directed to either Pat Thieben, administrative consultant, at pat.thieben@iowa.gov or 515-281-4707, or to Zoe Thornton, education program consultant, at zoe.thornton@iowa.gov or 515-281-4700. 

Division leaders elected to national boards.

Pradeep Kotamraju

Two division leaders were recently elected to national boards and began serving their new terms this month.

Pradeep Kotamraju, chief for the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, began his term on July 1 as board president for Advance CTE. Alex Harris, the division’s state director for adult education, was recently elected to serve on two national boards, the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), and the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE).

Advance CTE is the longest-standing national nonprofit representing state directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary, and adult career and technical education (CTE). During his term as board president, Kotamraju looks forward to helping shape Carl D. Perkins reauthorization and implementation, updating the National Career Clusters Framework, and continuing to build the visibility of and support for high-quality CTE.

Alex Harris

COABE provides leadership in advancing the education of adults in the lifelong learning process and promotes adult education and literacy programs, including adult basic education, adult secondary education, English for speakers of other languages, family literacy, skills development, workforce development, and other programs that assist undereducated and/or disadvantaged adults. As the board member presenting Region 5 (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota), Harris will serve a three-year term providing leadership, professional development, research, and communication to the field of adult education.

NCSDAE is the national nonprofit organization for state directors that coordinates professional development programs for state adult education staff. Harris will serve a two-year term on the executive board as the chair of policy and strategic partnerships. In this role, he will represent state adult education and leadership and a provide a voice with federal partners/funders on state adult education program management. He will stay on top of legislative issues, policies, and funding that impact adult education, partner with other like-minded organizations in support of adult education, and inform its members of applicable national and international matters.

Division awarded planning grant to addresss adult literacy needs.

The Iowa Department of Education’s Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation is exploring the possibility of creating a network of certified tutors to work one-on-one with adults who are unable to proficiently read, write, and speak.

Thanks to an AmeriCorps Planning Grant, the Department will look into the development and implementation of an adult tutoring program to address Iowa’s literacy needs.

The ability to proficiently read, write, and speak at a high school level is a foundational step toward achieving self-sufficiency and financial stability. Technological change and globalization are changing the state’s economy and the jobs being created today require higher skill levels than in the past. Providing services and support to the nearly 146,000 working-age Iowans without a high school degree or equivalent is necessary to close the skills gap so that more Iowans have quality career opportunities and employers have the skilled workforce they need.

Starting in September, the Department, in partnership with the Iowa Literacy Council, a non-profit first created in 1984, will collaborate to develop strategies targeting those with the greatest barriers to employment through greater visibility of Iowa’s literacy programs, increased volunteerism, and additional technical support for programs and volunteers.

Specifically, the grant will foster collaboration with local providers to explore the feasibility of hosting AmeriCorps members to serve as certified tutors and mentors for Iowa adults most in need of basic skill instruction. The additional supports will enable more Iowans to begin, persist, and succeed in the state’s adult education and literacy programs and contribute towards the Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce having education and training beyond high school by 2025.

Based on the outcome of the collaborative efforts funded by the $57,000 planning grant, the Department will have the opportunity to apply for a larger project grant to fund the implementation of the plan, begin to certify tutors, and increase the number of volunteers to raise the literacy level of adults across the state of Iowa.

More information about AmeriCorps state and national grants is available on Corporation for National and Community Service website. For additional information or questions about the Department’s grant award and proposal, please contact Marcela Hermosillo, education consultant, at marcela.hermosillo@iowa.gov or 515-281-4723.

It's never too late to return to education. Just ask Liz Smith.

Liz Smith


It is heartbreaking to hear of a runner quitting a marathon at the 25th mile, but that is what Liz Smith did, educationally speaking. Even though she was so close to the finish line, Smith dropped out of high school during her senior year.

Now in her third semester as a college student at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC), and preparing to transfer to Loras College to study communications, Smith looks back at her path and the people and programs that helped her get to where she is today. 

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Recipient of the 2017 Archie Willard Adult Education and Literacy Award announced.

Jason Walker

Jason Walker, an adult education and literacy instructor at Muscatine Community College, is the recipient of the 2017 Archie Willard Adult Education and Literacy Educator of the Year. Walker was bestowed this honor in front of his colleagues and peers during the statewide Adult Education and Literacy Conference on Wednesday, July 19.

With many deserving adult education and literacy educators across Iowa, Walker’s nomination showcased his dedication to helping adult students in Eastern Iowa realize their potential. One of his former students, Mason Brown, explains the difference Walker has made in his life.

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