October Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 9, Issue 4                                                                      October 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

Career and Technical Education Advisory Council outlines priorities for Perkins V

Perkins V

The recently announced statewide Career and Technical Education Advisory Council met last week to assess progress, share priorities and identify ways to expand career and technical education (CTE) access and impact across the state. This work is helping guide the development of Iowa’s state plan required under the federal Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.

Commonly referred to as Perkins V, the federal law reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which provides almost $1.2 billion in federal support for career and technical education (CTE) programs in all 50 states and U.S. territories, including support for integrated career pathway programs for students. Iowa receives nearly $12 million annually in federal funds to support secondary and postsecondary CTE programs delivered through public school districts and community colleges.

The council’s input will help ensure that Iowa’s state plan aligns CTE systems and focuses on the needs of students, schools, community colleges, business and industry. The group will meet again on December 12 to complete work on a draft to be available for public comment by the end of the year.

Please contact Eric St Clair, Lead Education Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at eric.stclair@iowa.gov, or at 515-326-0274, for more information.

Skilled worker shortage? Not here.


Business and education officials in southwest Iowa are taking a two-pronged approach to reducing skilled worker shortages: fast-track training for highly skilled advanced manufacturing jobs and partner with local companies that not only support the program, but invest in its success.

That is the premise behind CEAM, an acronym for the Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing, that launched in 2017. Housed in a state-of-the-art facility on Iowa Western Community College’s Clarinda campus, CEAM programs are designed to meet and sustain the needs of current and emerging advanced manufacturing companies throughout southwest Iowa.

Now in its third year, the program boasts a waiting list of people looking to reap the benefits that the two-year certificates in electro-mechanical technology and tool and die afford.

Click to read more

Progress continues on Iowa's transfer major initiative

Transfer major

A total of 15 discipline frameworks are now approved as part of the Iowa community college transfer major initiative. This work has allowed for the Iowa Department of Education (Department) to approve 61 transfer majors aligned with these frameworks at 11 of Iowa’s 15 community colleges.

Transfer majors aim to create clear, structured pathways for transfer students. They are designed to guide students to take program-specific coursework within their associate of arts (AA) or associate of science (AS) studies that will transfer seamlessly into related majors at four-year institutions.

All of the discipline frameworks were developed and vetted by Iowa community colleges and public four-year universities prior to the Transfer Major Steering Committee’s (TMSC) approval. The approved discipline frameworks have a minimum of 18 discipline-relevant course credits that community colleges can offer students who intend to transfer into related baccalaureate programs at a four-year institution. This approval allows community colleges to create local transfer majors aligned with these discipline frameworks that also fulfill the AA or AS degree requirements. Once reviewed by the Department, colleges are able to market and transcript their transfer majors.

This fall, five community colleges (Northeast Iowa Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, Hawkeye Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, and Indian Hills Community College) offered transfer majors for student enrollment in psychology, criminal justice, and biology transfer majors. A total of 249 students enrolled in these transfer majors, which were the first frameworks completed. The students, 191 of whom are full-time students and 58 are part-time, are taking 2,992.5 credit hours. More transfer majors will soon be approved for colleges that have aligned with the approved frameworks, which also include Business, Sociology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Agronomy, Animal Science, Agriculture Business, Agriculture Education, Early Childhood Teacher Licensure, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education.  More transfer majors will be approved soon for colleges that have aligned with these frameworks.

Plans are underway for even more discipline frameworks to be developed. This month, faculty began work on Communications, English, Journalism, Music, Art, and Theatre. This February, work will continue in History, Political Science, Human Services, and Health/Wellness disciplines.

Please contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant at chris.russell@iowa.gov, or 515-725-2247, for more information.

Work-based learning common course numbering under way

work-based learning

Community colleges will soon have access to a wider array of work-based learning opportunities integrated into arts and sciences and career technical programs. A college-led initiative to establish common courses consisting of lecture and work-based experiences has resulted in five new broad course structures ranging from introductory exploring careers to practicum/field experience. A sixth course focused on internships is under development. 

These new community college work-based learning courses are identified under a new WBL prefix. They promote a greater understanding of careers and the workplace through the application of technical skills in work-based learning experiences that are reinforced by classroom curriculum. Inclusive of multiple disciplines, the courses integrate a lecture component intended to emphasize general employability skills and practices that prepare students for success in the work-based learning experience specific to a given discipline. The work promotes greater consistency in the delivery of work-based learning experiences and allows for a more seamless data collection and analysis of work-based learning delivered across community colleges.

The Iowa Department of Education has provided support to this initiative for the past year as the courses were developed. Next steps include identifying strategies to integrate the courses into degree programs. From there, other program models for integrating these courses can be developed, including career academies, pre-apprenticeships, and other earn-and-learn initiatives. 

Please contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant at chris.russell@iowa.gov, or 515-725-2247, for more information.

Dubuque community comes together to grow — and keep — talent


It’s one thing to grow and produce information technology (IT) talent to fill regional workforce needs. Retaining that talent is quite another, especially when employers from bordering states are eager to lure them away.

Unlike larger metropolitan areas that can promote themselves as technology hubs, the IT opportunities in the Dubuque area are dispersed among a variety of industries — manufacturing, banking, professional business and health care, to name a few.

“We realized that we needed to find a way to show students the wide range of high-paying tech jobs right here in northeast Iowa,” Dietzel said.

The Dubuque area’s IT sector partnership was up to the task.

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Annual data collection cycles complete

Data management

The data collection cycles for academic year (AY)  2018-2019 and 2019 fall enrollment are complete with all 15 community colleges meeting the submission deadlines. The timely submission of verified data has allowed for immediate processing for use in upcoming reports, such as the Fall Enrollment Report and the Condition of Community Colleges Report, as well as numerous special reports published during the year.

The current submission process incorporates a home-grown data validation tool to expedite data submission and improve data accuracy. In the future, that process will transition to a new web-based comprehensive "live" system. Developed by Mobius, Inc., the new WebMIS data submission, validation, and reporting system is currently in the testing stage. All web-based system modules have been developed and community colleges have direct access to familiarize themselves with the system. Many have already accessed the system and have started to add users and have attempted data loads. 

The current WebMIS system will remain open for testing purposes until the new MIS Reporting Manual is issued in mid-March. Community colleges should continue using already compiled data for AY 2018-2019 and/or fall 2019 for all testing purposes until mid-March 2020, at which time the system will be updated for the requirements of the next cycle of data collection.   

Please contact Vlad Bassis, Lead Education Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at vladimir.bassis@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3671, with comments or questions.

CTE Leadership webinars scheduled for the 2019-2020 academic year


The Iowa Department of Education's Bureau of Career and Technical Education is hosting a series of leadership webinars for school administrators and leaders who are interested in learning more about career and technical education, Perkins funding, and CTE programming.

The monthly webinars are scheduled from 3:15 to 4:15 on the third Monday of each month via Zoom Meeting, and can be accessed at https://IDOE.zoom.us/j/8829669365.

Upcoming Webinars:

November 18, 2019         Information Technology and Service Areas

December 16, 2019         Secondary CTE Reporting Application and Required Reporting

January 20, 2020             Equity/Nontraditional Opportunities

February 17, 2020           Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO)

March 9, 2020                  Sector Partnerships

April 20, 2020                   Work-Based Learning Intermediary Networks

May 18, 2020                    Perkins V Update

Past Recorded Webinars – Leadership and 2020 Perkins Updates

September 23, 2019        Perkins 101

Please contact Lisa Stange, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at lisa.stange@iowa.gov, or at 515-242-5032, for more information.

New resource highlights career opportunities in the building trades

Building Trades

A new resource is available to help promote and highlight the wide range of in-demand careers available within Iowa's building trades. The Iowa Department of Education developed the Opportunities in Building Trades resource in partnership with the Iowa Laborer’s Education and Training Trust Fund, Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, National Association of Women in Construction, and Home Builders Association of Iowa.

Hundreds of building trades professionals, employers, educators, and support partners from across the state provided input throughout the process. From the initial planning and design stages to the final sale and maintenance of residential, commercial and industrial projects, the resource breaks down stereotypes and shows there is a job for everyone in the building trades. Links to additional resources, such as the Future Ready Iowa Career Coach, are included in the guide for readers to learn more about opportunities in their local communities. 

These efforts support Iowa’s Future Ready Iowa initiative, which focuses on ensuring Iowa’s workforce is equipped with the skills and education that employers need. A similar project is currently underway for the transportation, distribution, and logistics (TDL) industry in Iowa, which is anticipated to be released in December.

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

Emsi Analyst and Career Coach demonstration webinar

Career Coach

The Iowa Department of Education is hosting a webinar on November 7 to demonstrate the features and functions of the Emsi Analyst online tool and the Future Ready Iowa Career Coach websites. The information will be useful for community college staff and administrators who work with labor market information.

Each community college has been provided a subscription to Emsi Analyst, which is an online tool that provides information on local occupational-level wages, industry trends, employment projections, required skills and training, and demographic data. It also contains data from local job postings to analyze job demand, and Equifax data, which provides location information for employers in Iowa.

The Future Ready Iowa Career Coach site is a statewide online portal used for supporting education and workforce development for students and employers. It includes labor market information that is customizable by location, and also includes educational and job opportunities. The site focuses on career pathways, career development, and sector partnerships.

The webinar is scheduled at 3:00 p.m. on November 7, via Zoom Meeting at https://IDOE.zoom.us/j/112296152.

Please contact Paula NIssen, Lead Education Consultant, at paula.nissen2@iowa.gov, or at 515-418-8273, for more information.

New program addresses barriers to supervised agricultural experience (SAE) completion


The Iowa Department of Education has partnered with the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators and Iowa FFA to sponsor a new training program for teachers and FFA advisors. Called SAE for All, the program focuses on removing barriers that may keep students from completing quality work-based learning experiences through the supervised agricultural experience (SAE).

A required component of a total agricultural education program, SAE infuses experiential and work-based learning into agricultural education. This allows local programs to extend beyond the classroom and into the community in order to develop an individual student’s industry and career-based competencies.

The training uses the SAE for All student and teacher guides and resources, which were developed by the National Council for Agricultural Education with input from a national committee of agricultural educators. The materials outline best practices and include individual learning guides to improve student engagement in the modern classroom.

Teachers from schools in all six Iowa FFA districts attended one of several full-day sessions held in September and October. They will also go through an additional six hours of training during the Iowa Agricultural Education Summer Conference, scheduled for June 22-24, 2020.

Please contact Matthew Eddy, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at matthew.eddy@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3080, for more information.

Division welcomes new staff member


The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation is pleased to welcome Cale Hutchings to the Bureau of Career and Technical Education. He will start his new role as an education program consultant on Nov. 19.

Hutchings comes to us from Indian Hills Community College where he was an associate professor in automotive technology. Prior to teaching at Indian Hills, he was an industrial technology teacher at Fairfield and Fort Madison high schools. Hutchings has a master's degree in education from Viterbo University. 

Within the Division, Hutchings' primary duties will include supporting school districts and community colleges with programming within the applied sciences, technology, engineering, and manufacturing (industrial technology) service area, and assisting with Perkins grant management activities.

Iowa represented in national leadership roles

MaryAnne Nickle

Three Iowa representatives have been selected to serve in leadership roles with the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).

MaryAnne Nickle, dean of the Iowa Valley Community College District Grinnell campus, was elected as the two-year postsecondary institution representative on the NACEP board of directors. The board serves as the legislative body for the organization and sets policy and provides strategic direction for the organization. Nickle will serve a two-year term.


Eric St Clair, lead consultant for career and technical education at the Iowa Department of Education, was appointed as vice-chair of the advocacy commission. This commission will focus on policy and communication strategies with federal and state governments and departments of education. St Clair will serve a three-year term.

Dan Li, education consultant at the Iowa Department of Education was elected to serve on the research commission as the Region 4 representative. This commission will conduct, support, and share research on concurrent enrollment programs. Li will serve a three-year term.

Dan Li

NACEP is a national organization dedicated to supporting programs, practitioners, and policy to advance concurrent and dual enrollment programs. The advocacy and research commissions were established following modifications to NACEP’s by-laws adopted in the fall of 2018. The new structure is effective as of October 15, 2019. 

With these positions, Iowa is well positioned to help set and inform the direction of NACEP as it continues to grow as a respected authority on concurrent enrollment programming.  

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 Career and Technical Education Bureau Chief (CTE) position closes on Oct. 31. In the near future, the Division expects to advertise for a CTE administrative consultant position and a consultant position within the Bureau of Community Colleges focusing on Senior Year Plus and career academies.

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