August Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 9, Issue 2                                                                      August 2019

Inside this issue

Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation

Barbara Burrows
Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges

Pat Thieben
Acting Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education

Heather Doe
Communications Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges

Register to attend the Perkins V pre-conference workshop


The Iowa Department of Education is hosting a Perkins V pre-conference workshop on September 16, the day before the Iowa Association of Career and Technical Education Conference.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as Perkins V, was signed into law last July. The law amends and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which provides almost $1.2 billion in federal support for programs in all 50 states and U.S. territories, including support for integrated career pathway programs. Iowa receives nearly $12 million annually, equally divided between secondary education and community colleges.

The workshop will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about Iowa’s transition plan and receiving updates on the development of a statewide four-year plan to support full implementation of Perkins V, should complete the online registration form before the August 30 deadline.

Please contact Pat Thieben, Acting Bureau Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at, or at 515-281-4707 with any questions.


New health science resource guide available


Iowa’s health care providers, educators, and community support partners have a new resource to help them develop or improve health science work-based learning opportunities for students and job seekers. The toolkit, developed through continued partnership among the Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Health Care Association, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Iowa Department of Education, aims to help employers expand their hiring pool by providing early exposure to in-demand careers in the health care field.

Heightened by Iowa’s historically low unemployment rates, a skilled labor shortage across the state has many employers seeking new ways to expand their hiring pool. To address this need, the toolkit includes industry considerations, recommendations, and examples of successful programs across the state to further dispel myths, stereotypes, or misconceptions of work-based learning. The goal is to help Iowa employers better engage, train, and retain a skilled workforce.

Last year, the group also completed work on the Opportunities in Health Science career pathways project, which provides detailed information on the wide range of career opportunities in Iowa’s health care industry.

Please contact Joe Collins, Sector Partnership and Career Pathways Consultant, at, or at 515-725-0646, for more information on these projects.

New program gives students a leg up in high-demand fields


Figuring out what you want to do when you “grow up” can be difficult, even for adults. But not for Hudson High School senior Morgan Hansen. Thanks to a new state program that provides high school students with unprecedented access to college-level coursework over the summer in some of the state’s most in-demand fields, she feels more confident in her future than ever.

“I knew that I liked health care, and I was pretty sure that I wanted to go into nursing, but this really sealed the deal for me,” Morgan said.

As part of the state’s new Summer College Credit Program, Morgan was able to enroll in a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program through Hawkeye Community College, all at no cost to her or her school district. All in all, a total of 764 high school students across the state earned college credit this summer in one of 38 regionally selected programs provided by Iowa’s 15 community colleges. Each community college offered at least one career-and-technical education (CTE) program that aligned with regional workforce needs in fields such as health care, industrial technology, information solutions, and business.

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WebMIS project nears completion

Data management

The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation's WebMIS project (implemented by Mobius) is nearing completion. This web-based live system is used by Iowa community colleges to upload, analyze, clean, validate, and submit data to the Iowa Department of Education. At this time, the vendor has finished all modules related to user management, data uploads, analysis, validation, and submission. While not yet final, the system is fully functional and has been moved to a secure environment for colleges to test and provide feedback.

Last month, the Division hosted a hands-on training for community college MIS reporting officers to learn about the new system. The WebMIS developer, Mobius Inc., arrived in Des Moines to provide full-day training sessions to small groups over three days. Colleges were encouraged to bring samples of real data to upload, process, and clean to imitate an entire data submission process. The MIS reporting officers were able to use the system with college-specific data, get questions answered in real time, and provide valuable feedback regarding functionality, deficiencies, and improvements.

For the upcoming September 17 data submission deadline, colleges can choose to submit their data through the new WebMIS, or through the traditional vehicle and validation tools. Next year, however, WebMIS will become the official system of data submission for regular academic year and fall data exchanges.

In addition to data submission, the WebMIS will also serve as a live noncredit course and program catalog. As such, it will become the first in the nation statewide catalog of noncredit courses and programs offered by community colleges.

For more information about the WebMIS project, contact Vlad Bassis, Lead Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at, or at 515-281-3671.

Register to attend the CTE Best Practices Conference


Registration is now open for the Iowa Association for Career and Technical Education’s (Iowa ACTE) annual CTE Best Practices Conference. The annual conference, which is co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education, focuses on professional development in all service areas and is designed to bring together secondary and postsecondary educators, career specialists, administrators and business partners. It is being held September 17, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, Iowa.

Keynote speakers for the conference include John McHugh, Director of Corporate Communications at Kwik Trip Inc., who was formerly an instructor and principal at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Wis., and Michael Connet, Associate Deputy Executive Director of Outreach and Partner development at ACTE.

The jam-packed conference provides numerous networking and professional development opportunities, with sessions covering content area improvement in classroom and work-based learning settings, Iowa’s program approval process, new state policies impacting CTE, access and equity, and other innovative practices that are preparing students for college and careers.

Registration is $100 for IACTE members and $125 for non-members who register by September 10. More information about the conference can be found at the Iowa ACTE website.

Project to highlight careers in Iowa's transportation, distribution, and logistics industry underway


The Iowa Department of Education is proud to announce a new partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Motor Truck Association, APICS-Central Iowa, and Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association to develop promotional materials highlighting the wide range of exciting and fulfilling careers available within Iowa's Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL) industry.

The group collaborated in the creation of a short 5-minute survey designed to gather direct input from employers that are directly or indirectly involved in the movement of materials, goods, and people. The collected information will guide the development of the promotional materials, which will include career pathways to clearly show how individuals can enter into and advance through these careers in Iowa. In-person focus groups will also be conducted throughout the state during the month of September to further develop and validate project materials. The final product is scheduled for release by the end of the year. 

Please contact Joe Collins, Sector Partnership and Career Pathways Consultant, at, or at 515-725-0646, for more information on these projects.

Data visualization tools updated and expanded


The Division recently updated its online data visualization tools to include academic year (AY) 2017-18 data. To ensure information is easily accessible, the Division supports a number of reported data sets through various data visualization systems, such as Tableau, or StatPlanet.

The primary data sets displayed through these tools include:

Additional project-specific data visualization sets (e.g., student organizations, Iowa Registered Apprenticeship Sponsors and Employment Demand) are also available on the Department’s website. The information from the interactive data sets can be downloaded instantly in multiple formats, such as data tables, charts, maps, snapshots, and complete power point presentations.

Please contact Vlad Bassis, Lead Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at, or at 515-281-3671 for more information about these online tools.

Varner elected to NCSDCC executive committee


Jeremy Varner, Administrator of the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, was elected to executive committee of the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges (NCSDCC) as Secretary/Treasurer, after nomination during the 2018-2019 academic year.  This one-year term is typically followed by advancement vice chair, chair-elect, chair, and past-chair positions.  

For nearly 50 years, the council has served as the only entity representing the collective interest of state agencies and state boards of community colleges.  Affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges, it serves as a forum for state directors to exchange ideas and address changes in attitude and policy toward community colleges at the federal, state, and local levels.    

Division welcomes new staff member

Matt Eddy

Matthew Eddy will join the Bureau of Career and Technical Education on September 11 as a career and technical education program consultant. Matt comes to us from Southeast Polk High School where he was an agriculture education instructor. He has nearly two decades of experience teaching agriculture and developing innovative partnerships.

Matt earned his master's and bachelor's degrees in agriculture education from Iowa State University. He has served on the Governor's Teacher Cabinet, as president of the Iowa Association of Agriculture Educators, as chairperson of the Iowa FFA Association, and on the National FFA Organization Board of Directors, as well as in numerous other leadership roles. Additionally, Matt has received many awards from various state and national groups for his work.

Within the Division, Matt's primary responsibilities will include supporting career and technical education, including agriculture, food, and natural resources programs.

Stepping up to the equity plate: changing one individual life at a time


Dr. Kimberly Wayne, was one of the keynote speakers for the Social Justice in Education Conference, which was held at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines earlier this month.

Wayne is the regional manager of quality and continuous improvement at the Siegwerk Company in Des Moines and founder of the Jewels Academy, an informal STEM enrichment organization for underrepresented young women in grades 4-12. She received her doctorate in educational leadership from Drake University, a master’s of business administration degree from Iowa State University, and a bachelor’s of science degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. Wayne currently serves on the State Board of Education and has a passion for empowering students.

In this Q&A, Wayne reflects on equity in education, focusing on the importance of family involvement, education, and community networks that support all students, regardless of their circumstances.

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Students learn leadership is far more than a title


Corn dogs, concerts, and competitions – all iconic images that come to mind when thinking about the Iowa State Fair. But what about yellow shirts? And no, we aren’t referring to spilled lemonade.

Yellow shirts are actually students participating in the FFA Grandstand Usher and Stage Attendant Program. They can be found every day of the fair handing out programs, assisting with livestock competitions, and putting temporary tattoos on fairgoers. But their primary duties are to serve as ushers for all of the grandstand ticketed events and as stage attendants for the Fair’s three free stages. They are colloquially referred to as “yellow shirts” due to the golden-hued T-shirts ushers don throughout the fair (stage attendants actually wear blue shirts).

Make no mistake, the grandstand usher and free stage attendant positions are more than just summer jobs. There is a strong leadership component to the program. Students learn how to work as a team, hone communication skills, and take on the challenge of adapting to changing priorities – all things that will help them in both college and the workforce.

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Career opportunities within the Division

join our team

We are seeking talented individuals who are passionate about excellence in education to fill several positions over the next few months within the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation (Division).

We don't just talk about inclusion; it's how we do business. Our team is globally diverse and we seek candidates whose differences will challenge our ideas, spur innovation, and ultimately help build stronger programs serving the people of Iowa.

The Division is currently seeking candidates to fill two positions: Bureau Chief (CTE) and CTE consultant for skilled trades and advanced manufacturing.  In the near future, the Division expects to advertise for two consultant positions within the Bureau of Community Colleges. 

To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, at, or at 515-281-8260.