January Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 9, Issue 6                                                                      January 2020


Inside this issue

Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation


Dennis Harden
 Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education


Heather Doe
Communications Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges

2019 Condition of Community Colleges Report now available

Condition cover

The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation (division) released its Annual Condition of Iowa’s Community Colleges 2019 report at the State Board of Education meeting on Jan. 23. The report provides a comprehensive overview, including academic year and trend data on enrollment, credit and noncredit programs, joint enrollment, adult education, online course delivery, student success, human resources, finances and more. 

Report highlights include:

  • 128,624: The number of students enrolled in community college credit courses, down slightly from 131,144 the year before.
  • 62,731: The number of students enrolled in online credit courses through an Iowa community college, up from 60,689 the year before.
  • 50,587: The number of jointly enrolled students who earned college credit while in high school, down slightly from 51,001 the year before. Jointly enrolled high school students account for 39.3 percent of total community college enrollees and 24.8 percent of total credits.

  • 764: The number of high school students who participated in health sciences, technology, engineering and other programs through the Summer College Credit Program.
  • 34.5%: The percent of students under the age of 18 enrolled in community college courses, the highest in the nation.
  • 23.1%: The percent of community college enrollment from racial and ethnic minority groups, which represents a record high.
  • 17,377: The number of credit awards earned (associate degrees, certificates and diplomas), up from 16,747 the previous year.
  • 43,538: The number of noncredit program awards, up from 26,005 the year before. The majority of these awards (72.4 percent) were industry-awarded credentials designed to lead to or enhance employment opportunities.

The full report, as well as disaggregated data tables and interactive data visualization tools, are available on the Department’s website.

Please contact Paula Nissen, Lead Education Consultant, at (515) 418-8273, or paula.nissen2@iowa.gov, or Vlad Bassis, Lead Education Consultant, at (515) 281-3671, or vladimir.bassis@iowa.gov with comments or questions. 

Curriculum managememt system contract extended for one year

work flow

The Iowa Department of Education (Department) is in the process of extending its contract to provide CurrIQunet META for an additional year, through Jan. 2021. The system, which is used to manage the state's career and technical education (CTE) program approval workflow and common course numbering, was previously scheduled to shut down on Jan. 31.

This transition from CurrIQunet's META to DIGARC's Curriculog workflow platform is not expected to be completed this calendar year. The extension of the current contract ensures continued service for the next 12 months. More information about the Curriculog transition and implementation timeline will be shared in the near future.

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

Input sought on draft plan to meet federal career and technical education law

Perkins V

The Department is holding three public input meetings on Thursday, Feb. 6 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs and Johnston to gather feedback on the draft of Iowa's state plan for meeting requirements of 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 support for career and technical education (CTE) programs in all 50 states and U.S. territories. CTE programs increase student engagement through the integration of technical and academic skills in hands-on, real-world learning experiences. 

The draft of Iowa’s state plan incorporates input received through a state advisory council, education work teams and written comments and includes strategies for addressing the following new key priorities:

  • Expanding high-quality CTE programs to middle school students.
  • Focusing on teacher recruitment, retention and professional development, particularly in the area of work-based learning.
  • Growing career and technical student organizations across the state to enhance classroom learning through real-world experiences.

Those unable to attend a public meeting in person can view the Heartland AEA meeting location via ZOOM. Iowans can also submit questions and feedback by completing online surveys about the draft plan and performance targets.

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.

Iowa Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund reports released

skilled worker

The division recently released fiscal year (FY) 2019 reports for the Pathways for Career Employment (PACE), Gap Tuition Assistance, Work-Based Learning Intermediary Network, Adult Education and Literacy Programs (AEL), and the Workforce Training and Economic Development Fund (WTED). These programs are funded through the Iowa Department of Education’s allocation of the Iowa Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund, which was created to support worker training and job creation efforts with funding from the state’s gaming industry receipts.

FY19 report highlights include the following:

  • A total of 1,179 applicants were approved for tuition assistance under the Gap Tuition Assistance Program and 816 students completed their programs during FY19.
  • A total of 2,906 applicants were approved for tuition assistance under PACE. By the end of AY18-19, 996 students received an award through credit programs, 627 completed noncredit programs, 978 earned National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) and 966 earned third-party credentials.
  • The Iowa Work-Based Learning Intermediary Network provided services to 121,681 educator and student participants.
  • Iowa’s AEL programs served 16,551 unique participants.
  • A total of 74,101 participants and 2,488 businesses benefited from programs funded through the WTED fund.

More information on the Iowa Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund is available on the Department’s website. Contact Paula Nissen, Lead Education Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at 515-418-8273, or at paula.nissen2@iowa.gov, with questions about any of these reports.

Request for proposals for grant funds to support adult education programs, increase credential attainment


The division will be releasing a request for proposals (RFP) on Feb. 14 for approximately $3 million in Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) grant funds and workforce training funds through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to support the following three programs:

  • Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) (WIOA Section 231)
  • Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Individuals (C&I) (WIOA Section 225)
  • Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) (WIOA Section 243)

A Bidders’ Conference for interested parties will be held Feb. 20 at the Grimes Building, B50, 400 E. 14th Street, Des Moines, Iowa from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Any organization that has demonstrated effectiveness in providing adult education and literacy activities is eligible to apply for grant funding.

Application materials, policies and criteria for submitting proposals are available on the Adult Education and Literacy section of the Iowa Department of Education’s website. Completed applications must be submitted via IowaGrants by 4 p.m. on April 3 to be considered for funding. Award announcements will be made in June.

For more information, please contact Alex Harris, State Director for Adult Education, Bureau of Community Colleges, at alex.harris@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3640.

Input sought on draft plan to meet the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act


As required under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Iowa’s draft 2020 Unified State Plan has officially been released for public comment. The plan provides a vision for workforce, education and economic development policy in the state while also serving as a federal compliance document for the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education under WIOA.

The public comment period is open through Feb. 5. Individuals can make a general comment about the draft Unified State Plan or click directly in the draft text to make comments about specific sections from the public comment website.

The 4-year strategic and operational plan includes an executive summary and six unique sections:

  1. A statement of the type of plan being submitted. The options are a unified plan or combined plan. Iowa is submitting a unified plan.
  2. A strategic analysis providing data on our economy and workforce, information on existing programs and the overarching goals for the next four years.
  3. An operational section that details how the partner programs will work together to make the goals in section II a reality. This section includes information on partnerships, technology, funding formulas and specific initiatives to better serve customers.
  4. A statement of how planning was conducted with all partners.
  5. A list of assurances that the state is making regarding the development and ongoing governance of this plan.
  6. Detailed operational plans for the core programs. Core programs are funded by WIOA and they all report on the same performance measurements.

The development of Iowa’s draft plan was a collaborative effort of Iowa Workforce Development, the Iowa Department of Education – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the Iowa Department of Education – Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation and the Iowa Department for the Blind.

For more information, please contact Alex Harris, State Director for Adult Education, Bureau of Community Colleges, at alex.harris@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3640.

Registration for Iowa's first national work-based learning conference now open


Registration is now open for the National Work-Based Learning Conference scheduled for April 22-23 at the FFA Enrichment Center on DMACC’s Ankeny campus. For the first time, the national Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has joined forces with Iowa work-based learning coordinators to host a joint conference with both national and state experts.

The conference will focus on national work-based learning trends and the continued professional development for work-based learning coordinators to build high-quality student experiences and programs. The conference boasts a wide range of presenters with sessions geared toward instructors, counselors and administrators. Casey Sacks, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education will be the national keynote speaker.

More information, including conference details and session schedules are available on the ACTE conference website.

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 kristy.volesky@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3615, for more information.

Division welcomes new CTE bureau chief


The division is pleased to welcome Dennis Harden as the new chief for the Bureau of Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Prior to joining the division, Harden provided state level leadership for CTE for more than 32 years at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For the past two decades, he served as coordinator of the Career Education Unit, marshalling a staff of 35 to provide leadership for curriculum development, teacher professional development and career and technical student organizations. In addition, Harden oversaw Perkins state plan development and implementation, and disbursement of an annual budget of $70 million in state and federal funding supporting CTE in 444 comprehensive high schools, 57 area career centers, 12 community college districts and the State Technical College of Missouri.  

Prior to becoming coordinator, Harden served as Director of Industrial Education overseeing Skilled Technical Sciences, Health Sciences and Industrial Technology/Technology Education programs and as Supervisor of Industrial Training.

Harden has master’s, education specialist and doctor of education degrees in Career and Technical Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Missouri.

Harden currently serves on the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) Education Foundation Board of Directors and the NOCTI Board of Trustees.  

As chief of the CTE bureau, Dennis will be responsible for the direction of secondary and postsecondary CTE, including Perkins V implementation and veterans' education.  

Registration open for 16th annual diversity conference


Registration is open for the 16th annual Diversity Conference, which will be held on March 27 at Indian Hills Community College's main campus in Ottumwa.

The one-day conference is jam-packed with breakout sessions from leading experts on important topics such as inclusive pedagogy, education and poverty, race and policy, sex trafficking and barriers for soldiers returning home. In addition, two keynote speakers, Liz Nead and Christian Picciolini, will share their expertise in the field. Nead, author and regular contributor to the Huffington Post, will share strategies to master diversity in a new decade. Picciolini, award-winning television producer and public speaker, will discuss his work on helping others overcome hate.

A discounted registration rate of $30 is available for those who register before Feb. 29. Seating is limited and early registration is highly recommended.

Please contact Jeanette Thomas, Education Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at jeanette.thomas@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3636, with 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:

Feb. 17, 2020           Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA for Perkins V)

March 9, 2020          Work-Based Learning Intermediary Networks (scheduled a week early due to spring break)

April 20, 2020           Sector Partnerships 

May 18, 2020            Perkins V Update

Past Recorded Webinars – Leadership and 2020 Perkins Updates

Sept. 23, 2019         Perkins 101

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

Nov. 18, 2019          Information Technology and Service Areas

Dec. 16, 2019          Secondary CTE Program Application

Please contact Lisa Stange, Education Program Consultant for Family and Consumer Sciences, 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 transportation, distribution and logistics


A new resource is available to help promote and highlight the wide range of in-demand careers available within the transportation, distribution and logistics industry in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Education developed the Opportunities in Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) resource in partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Motor Truck Association, APICS-Central Iowa and Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association.

Transportation, distribution and logistics professionals in Iowa connect our communities every day by road, air, rail and water through safe, reliable and innovative technologies and services. Steady demand for these services to fuel a growing economy and changing consumer purchasing preferences requires skilled Iowans able to design, operate and maintain these complex supply chain networks and associated vehicles, machinery and equipment.

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. Similar pathway projects have been completed for the information technology, energy and utilities, advanced manufacturing, health sciences and building trades industries.

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

Iowa community college outcomes research featured in education industry publication


Iowa was recently featured in the EvoLLLution®, an online higher education newspaper, for undertaking research on community college education and employment outcomes. The article, Iowa’s Community College Education and Employment Outcomes Research: Calculating Impact, discusses these efforts, their impact on the state and how the data can be used to enhance new program planning, existing program modifications and overall program improvement.

Please contact Paula Nissen, Lead Education Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at paula.nissen2@iowa.gov, or at 515-418-8273, for more information.

Five ways to celebrate CTE Month

CTE Month

Every February, students, educators and administrators celebrate CTE month, a nationwide campaign held to celebrate career and technical education and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.

Today’s CTE programs have become increasingly innovative. Extending well beyond the development of simple technical skills, high-quality CTE programs increase student engagement through the integration of technical and academic skills in hands-on, real-world learning experiences.

Click to read more about five ways to celebrate CTE month and raise awareness of the value of these high-quality programs that align with workforce needs and provide clear pathways to industry certifications and postsecondary credentials.

Click to read more

Registration open for spring 2020 Iowa College and Career Readiness Academy courses


Registration is now open for spring 2020 courses through the Iowa College and Career Readiness Academy. The Academy was developed by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education and AEA Iowa, and has been endorsed by the Iowa School Counselor Association (ISCA). These Iowa-specific online courses designed for administrators, school counselors and other college access professionals will begin on March 9 and run through May 3. 

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 currently interviewing candidates for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) administrative consultant position and is seeking applicants to fill a community college student success consultant position.

With the departure of Dr. Barbara Burrows, the division expects to advertise for Bureau Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges, in the coming weeks. Additionally, a concurrent enrollment/career academies consultant position is expected to be posted soon.

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.