April Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 11, Issue 9                                                                      April 2021


Inside this issue


Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation


Dennis Harden
 Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education


Amy Gieseke
Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges


Alison Jepsen
Executive Officer, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation

Governor announces $2.89 million in competitive grants for Gap Tuition Assistance and short-term training


Up to $2.89 million in competitive grants for Iowa’s community colleges will be available supplement the state’s GAP Tuition Assistance Program. These grants will help more Iowans whose jobs were impacted by the pandemic to enroll in short-term training and credential programs leading to high-demand jobs in fields like advanced manufacturing, commercial truck driving, information technology, health care and welding. The funds for these grants come as part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II Fund), an $11.5 million package that will also provide mental health services and wraparound support to pre-K-12 students. Information about these grants will be posted here by May 1.  Read more about these GEER II funds below. 

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For more information, contact Amy Gieseke, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges (amy.gieseke@iowa.gov or 515-858-2234).

College and Career Transition Counselor grants awarded

College and Career Transition Counselor

Six $50,000 grants have been awarded to Iowa community colleges to support 13 new college and career transition counselor positions. Des Moines Area Community College, Hawkeye Community College, Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Valley Community College District, Kirkwood Community College and Western Iowa Tech Community Colleges have received funds to employ the counselors who will be present in local school districts and on the colleges' campuses to support students as they make decisions on their track to further education and/or their career goals. The new college and career transition counselors will work with students in 22 school districts across the state—ADM, Ames, Ankeny, Boone, Cedar Rapids, Collins-Maxwell, East Marshall, Estherville Lincoln Central, Grinnell-Newburg, Interstate 35, Johnston, Knoxville, Okoboji, Ogden, PCM, Perry, Sioux City, Southeast Polk, Spencer, Van Meter, Waterloo and West Des Moines. Read more about college and career transition counselors below.

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Please contact Katy Blatnick-Gagne, Education Program Consultant (katy.blatnick-gagne@iowa.gov or 515-281-8353) with any questions or comments.

Save the dates: Iowa Adult Education and Literacy Summer Virtual Conference

AEL Virtual Conference

The Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Literacy Council are pleased to announce the Iowa Adult Education and Literacy Summer Virtual Conference will be held July 20-22, 2021. The three day conference will include a half day preconference, state and national presenters, keynote speakers, time to network and an opportunity to learn about innovative practices in adult education. 

If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please complete the Call for Proposal Form. Proposals will be accepted through June 7, 2021.  

Registration will open in May. Registration and additional details will be located on the Iowa Department of Education website and http://yourfuturestartshereiowa.org/

Contact Elizabeth Johnson, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges (elizabeth.johnson2@iowa.gov or 515-281-3753) with comments or questions. 

Congratulations to SkillsUSA’s newest Career Essentials certified teachers


The Iowa Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) providers, as of April 1, have 26 instructors that have achieved their Career Essentials Certified Teacher status, becoming part of a national network of educators committed to preparing learners for success in the workforce. As Career Essentials Certified Teachers, these educators are now exceptionally equipped to use the Career Essentials curriculum as a turnkey tool to equip learners to define, implement and measure their career-readiness skills. 

The curriculum is divided into six modules that focus on personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. These modules are designed to be part of the Iowa Distance Education Adult Literacy (IDEAL) Initiative, enhancing adult learner delivery to include online and remote access to services. Through an online enrollment and registration system, a national Career Essential Credential is achievable  for all AEL participants. Each individual who earns the credential establishes and maintains a career readiness portfolio which demonstrates their transferable career readiness skills and ability to successfully contribute to their place of work.

Each community college can offer the project-based courses synchronously or asynchronously in an online environment, face-to-face or a hybrid approach. The learning events and units build sequentially to scaffold learning and is industry validated by over 50 national supporters. This course fits adults’ lifestyles and schedules while advancing their transferable employability skills, no matter their occupational area.

For more information, contact Alex Harris, Administrative Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges (alex.harris@iowa.gov or 515-281-3640).

Dr. Al Solano speaks to state leaders about guided pathways and student success

Dr. Al Solano

Iowa’s community colleges continue to learn about high-impact strategies to strengthen college approaches to guided pathways through statewide webinars on the topics of onboarding students, faculty involvement in guided pathways and branding pathway initiatives. On April 8, Dr. Al Solano, founder and higher education coach at the Continuous Learning Institute, spoke to state education leaders about student success strategies, educational leadership and institutional planning and implementation around guided pathways. You can read our interview with Dr. Solano below.

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Contact Amy Gieseke, Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges (amy.gieseke@iowa.gov or 515-858-2234) , or Kelly Friesleben, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges (kelly.friesleben@iowa.gov or 515-868-2847) with questions or comments.

2021 Condition of Secondary Career & Technical Education Report now available


The Iowa Department of Education has released the latest edition of an annual report that documents the academic year trend data on secondary career and technical education in Iowa. The Annual Condition of Secondary Career & Technical Education Report includes data on CTE courses and programs, enrollment, student and faculty characteristics, work-based learning and regional centers.

Highlights from the report are from the 2019-20 school year and : 

  • In FY2020, there were 19 regional centers providing 183 career academy programs to 6,150 high school students from 110 school districts. Among the 19 regional centers, six are located on community college campuses. 
  • Applied Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing was the most significant service area with 71 career academy programs being offered, followed by Health Sciences (32) and Information Solutions (28). Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources was the smallest service area with only eight career academy programs being offered within a regional center. 
  • More school districts offered work-based learning courses in AY2020 than in AY2016. There has been an increase in the number offering work-based learning courses, regardless of school district size. 
  • Other than the Applied Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing category, there was growth in the number of work-based learning courses in all other services areas. 
  • Over a five year period there was significant growth in the use of college credit contracted courses in secondary CTE programs (nearly 43 percent over a five-year period) and this growth is related to the size of the school districts, with larger districts offering and teaching more college credit contracted courses.

Contact Dennis Harden, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical Education (dennis.harden@iowa.gov or 515-281-4716) with questions or comments.

Iowa Consortium for Higher Education in Prisons officers announced


The Iowa Consortium for Higher Education in Prison steering committee has announced the results of its officer elections. Jennie Doke-Kerns, Director of Justice Impacted Communities and Academic Services at Des Moines Area Community College, will act as chair; Emily Guenther, Director of Sponsored Programs Administration at Grinnell College, will act as vice chair and Andrew Beckett, Associate Dean at the University of Iowa, will act as treasurer. A secretary for the committee will be chosen soon.

The Iowa Consortium for Higher Education in Prison is a collaborative organization of institutions of higher education, the Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Board of Regents. All colleges and universities offering postsecondary credit and noncredit CTE and academic programs in Iowa correctional facilities will be approved by the Iowa Department of Corrections based on recommendations of the active members in the Iowa Consortium for Higher Education in Prison. The Consortium is designed to:

  • establish the process through which postsecondary programs are considered and approved;
  • develop governance processes for the Consortium;
  • provide high quality educational opportunities;
  • share information between member colleges;
  • increase articulation of students among the member colleges and universities and correctional institutions;
  • urge legislators to continue state and federal financial support;
  • identify and/or develop funding sources;
  • cultivate constituency relations, and
  • work to advise effective DOC policies and procedures for serving incarcerated students.

Participating institutions will maintain the integrity of their separate programs and governance structures. All institutions in the Consortium must maintain accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and be appropriately authorized to operate postsecondary educational programs in the State of Iowa. More information about the Consortium can be found here. 

Please contact Alex Harris,Administrative Consultant (alex.harris@iowa.gov or 515-281-3640) with any questions or comments.

Summer school programs and access to postsecondary contracted courses


The Iowa Department of Education has received inquiries regarding the use of contracted postsecondary courses through the Senior Year Plus concurrent enrollment program outside of the regular academic school year through a school district’s summer school program. The Department offers the following guidance to school districts and community colleges for the purpose of contracting postsecondary courses through a school district’s summer school program.

It is not permissible for a school district or community college to enter into a sharing agreement for concurrent enrollment coursework over the summer months; however, a school district and community college may establish a contractual arrangement outside of the Senior Year Plus concurrent enrollment program to offer postsecondary coursework through a school district’s summer school program.

Contact Jen Rathje, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education (jennifer.rathje@iowa.gov or 515-326-5389) with comments or questions.

National Alliance for Partners in Equity Honors Dennis Harden with Lifetime Achievement Award

Dennis Harden

The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) has named Dennis Harden its Lifetime Achievement Honoree for 2021. NAPE's mission is to build the capacity of those in education to implement effective solutions to increase student access, educational equity and ultimately workforce diversity. The annual NAPE Equity Champions Awards are given to individuals in education and work who embody a commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Mr. Harden on April 29 as part of the National Summit for Educational Equity Conference. Harden receives the award for "demonstrated commitment to providing opportunities to members of underrepresented groups; [. . .} commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through leadership efforts at the local, state or national levels [. . . and] commitment to furthering the vision and mission of NAPE and the NAPE Education Foundation, through their own work, and/or through a collaborative effort." 

You can read more about the NAPE Lifetime Achievement Award below.

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Division welcomes new OWI education program consultant

Peggy Long

The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation are pleased to announce Peggy Long has joined the Community Colleges team as of April 22 as the education program consultant for OWI.

She comes to us from Purdue University Global where she was an online course lead and criminal justice professor.  Peggy has more than 11 years’ experience in higher education and 11 years' experience in corrections. Peggy has two Masters of Science degrees, one from Purdue University Global in Human Service and one from Drake University in Public Administration.

Within the division, Peggy will will be responsible for leading our OWI programs and initiatives and will oversee higher education in prison initiatives. Peggy replaces long-time Division team member, Barb Ledvina, who is set to retire on April 30. We thank Barb for her years of excellent service.

If you have questions about our team, please reach out to Jeremy Varner (jeremy.varner@iowa.gov or 515-242-6187).