November Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 9, Issue 5                                                                      November 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

Input needed on future of career and technical education in Iowa


The Iowa Department of Education has launched an online survey for students, parents, secondary and postsecondary educators, employers, community members and other education stakeholders to share their observations, experiences and insight on career and technical education (CTE) in Iowa. The input received will help in 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.

Iowa’s Career and Technical Education Advisory Council, which was convened by the Department earlier this fall, has requested broad public input to ensure Iowa’s state plan meets the unique needs of our learners, educators and employers. Feedback gathered through this online survey will provide guidance to the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council, whose charge is to ensure Iowa’s state plan positions CTE as a driving force for education, workforce and economic development.

The online survey is open through December 6.

The Career and Technical Education Advisory Council will meet again on December 12 to complete work on a draft plan to be available for public comment by the end of the year. All public comments will be considered in the final development of Iowa's state plan.

More information will be shared once the public comment period has been announced. In addition, the Department intends to hold public forums prior to submitting the final plan to Governor Reynolds in March.

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

2019 Fall Enrollment Report released

Fall Enrollment

The Iowa Department of Education has released the 2019 Fall Enrollment Report. This report includes enrollment information from all 15 Iowa community colleges as reported for the 2019 fall semester/quarter.

Fall enrollment decreased slightly to 88,375 students, down 1.7 percent from 2018. In addition, the number of high school students participating in joint enrollment decreased slightly for the first time. There were 35,734 jointly enrolled high school students in 2019, down less than one percent from 35,943 students in 2018. Part-time enrollment continued to be the largest segment, comprising 64.3 percent of total 2019 fall enrollment. In addition, the enrollment of students who self-identified as being racial and ethnic minorities reached an all-time high, comprising 23.6 percent of total fall enrollment.

Please contact Dan Li, Education Program Consultant, at, or at 515-281-3503, or Vlad Bassis, Lead Education Program Consultant, at, or at 515-281-3671, with comments or questions.

Iowa awarded grant to expand educational services in the state's correctional facilities


The Iowa Department of Education's Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, in partnership with Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa Central Community College, the University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Corrections, has been awarded a $150,000 grant to review ways to optimize delivery systems for higher education in Iowa's correctional facilities.

The one-year planning grant from Ascendium will be used to develop a correctional education advisory board to research best practices for expanding access to services such as adult education, career and technical education, apprenticeships and other postsecondary credentials aligned with labor market needs. The year-long grant will culminate with the development of a plan for systemic improvement in the delivery of educational programming that can be replicated and scaled in facilities across the state.

As a planning grant recipient, Iowa will also have the opportunity to apply for a two-year implementation grant of $950,000 to continue this work.

Please contact Alex Harris, State Director for Adult Education, at, or at 515-281-3640, for more information.

Governor Kim Reynolds announces Future Ready Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship awards

Last Dollar

Earlier this week, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that more than 5,800 Iowa students have received the new Future Ready Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship for fall 2019. Early numbers show that more than $6.6 million has been awarded to students enrolled in programs leading to employment in high-demand fields.

Of the 5,800 total recipients, 5,472 are currently enrolled in programs at Iowa's 15 community colleges. The remaining students attend Mercy College of Health Sciences and St. Luke's College. The average award received by community college students this fall was $1,153.73.

Community colleges experienced a 3.2 percent increase in eligible program enrollment this fall. The top programs across the state, based on the number of Last Dollar Scholarship recipients and the percent of recipients to enrollments, were registered nursing, licensed practical nursing, computer programming, automotive mechanics technology and welding.

The numbers released during the Governor's press conference are preliminary. Final numbers will be available from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission in December. 

Please contact Paula Nissen, Lead Education Program Consultant, at, or at 515-418-8273, for more information on the program statistics.

National work-based learning conference to be held in Iowa

Work-based learning

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has joined forces with Iowa work-based learning coordinators to co-host the first national work-based learning conference in Iowa. The conference, scheduled for April 22-23, 2020, will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center located on the Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny campus.

The National Work-Based Learning Conference will focus on work-based learning trends and professional development for work-based learning coordinators. The conference planning board is busy scheduling a wide array of conference sessions to continue to drive high-quality student experiences and programs.

Please check ACTE’s webpage dedicated to the National Work-Based Learning Conference for the latest details. Information on registration and conference sessions will be posted as they become available.

Please contact Kristy Volesky, Education Program Consultant for Business and Marketing, Work-Based Learning and the Iowa Intermediary Network, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at, or at 515-281-3615, for more information.

New advanced manufacturing work-based learning resource available

Manufacturing Toolkit

Iowa’s manufacturers, educators and community support partners have a new resource to help them develop or improve advanced manufacturing work-based learning opportunities for students and job seekers. The toolkit, developed through continued partnership among the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Elevate Advanced Manufacturing and the Iowa Department of Education, aims to help employers expand their hiring pool by providing early exposure to in-demand careers in the advanced manufacturing 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 Advanced Manufacturing career pathways project, which provides detailed information on the wide range of career opportunities in Iowa’s advanced manufacturing industry.

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

Apply to host "Educate and Elevate" AmeriCorps members

Educate and Elevate

The Iowa Department of Education's Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation invites Iowa’s public and private libraries, colleges and other nonprofit community organizations to apply to host Educate and Elevate AmeriCorps members for the 2020 program year.  

Currently, 202,087 Iowans, age 18 and over, do not have a high school diploma. By becoming a host site for the Educate and Elevate program, AmeriCorps members can help to increase the capacity of adult education tutoring by providing additional resources to supplement current offerings. This program provides Iowans with a unique opportunity to support the state's Future Ready Iowa initiative by focusing on strategies to help Iowa build its talent pipeline for the jobs of the future. 

Please contact Jayne Smith, AmeriCorps Program Director, at, or at 515-725-0046, for more information on how to become a host site.

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

Upcoming Webinars:

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 (scheduled a week early due to spring break)

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

October 21, 2019             Perkins V Secondary/Postsecondary Claims and Ineligible Expenses

November 18, 2019         Information Technology and Service Areas

Please contact Lisa Stange, Education Program Consultant for Family and Consumer Sciences, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at, or at 515-242-5032, for more information.

Georgia delegation visits Iowa to learn more about high-quality career and technical education

Southeast Polk

A delegation from the country of Georgia visited Iowa this fall to learn more about the state's high-quality career and technical education programs and ways to promote interest in these high-demand pathways.

The visit was made possible through a U.S. Department of State program that is helping Georgia improve the image of its technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs. Georgia, like many ex-Soviet countries, emerged from communism with worn-out facilities and a lack of enthusiasm for vocational and technical education. Facing a skilled worker shortage, this project aims to change students' perceptions about career and technical programs and careers.

While in Iowa, the delegation toured the agricultural programs offered at Southeast Polk High School. The delegation was impressed with the quality of the programs and the student engagement. The experience will help Georgia implement activities to build awareness of TVET pathways and career opportunities as students start making decisions about their future educational and career goals.

Please contact Matthew Eddy, Education Program Consultant for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at, or at 515-281-3080, for more information.

High school and community college programs highlighted in recognition of National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week

The benefits and opportunities of registered apprenticeship programs were showcased through events held this month as part of National Apprenticeship Week. Now in its fifth year, the week is a nationwide celebration that gives businesses, communities and educators the opportunity to draw attention to apprenticeship programs and apprentices while providing valuable information to career seekers.

Throughout National Apprenticeship Week, which ran Nov. 11-17, the Iowa Department of Education shared information and photos on its Facebook and Twitter profiles and in a Flickr album from high schools and community colleges across the state. Community college programs featured included the culinary arts apprenticeship program at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) apprenticeship program at Hawkeye Community College.

Click to read more

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.

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 in the process of interviewing candidates for the Career and Technical Education Bureau Chief (CTE) position, and is currently seeking candidates for a CTE Administrative Consultant position. In the near future, the division expects to advertise for 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, or at 515-281-8260.