August Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 12, Issue 1                                                                      August 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

Iowa Community College presidents outline work-based learning state initiative

Community colleges

At their May meeting, the Iowa Association of Community College Presidents (IACCP) reaffirmed their position on the colleges' work-based learning (WBL) state initiative in a new document that is posted on the Department's website. Several benefits to the adoption of WBL courses across the system were shared in the document including: building a community college brand for work-based learning courses, improving communication with stakeholders about course options and promoting a more consistent delivery of quality work-based learning experiences across the state. The WBL courses are available to both college students, and in many cases, high school students as well. In the past year, 181 courses with the WBL prefix have been added to the state's common course numbering system and have become a part of dozens of the colleges' programs with more in the college's curriculum pipelines. An action team is working to build on this success moving forward by increasing the conversion of more of the over 1000+ current work-based learning courses, which currently span several disciplines and program areas, into the more familiar classification of WBL courses. An FAQ in the president's document helps to answer some of the common issues that arise in curriculum discussions when making these local course and program changes. WBL guidance documents have been developed and will continue to be created to support this initiative through the help of various work-based learning committees in the state. These documents will be made available on the aforementioned website.

For more information, please contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges ( or 515-725-2247) or Jane Bradley, Lead Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education ( or 515-689-4402).

Public health emergency proclamation updates


Most waivers under the Public Health Emergency Proclamations issued by Governor Reynolds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have expired; there is only one current waiver for community colleges. Over the past six months, the Governor's office has slowly allowed waivers to expire with just three remaining under the previous proclamation. The two waivers impacting the delivery of online courses for drinking drivers and faculty credit hour load were not continued under the most recent proclamation. The last remaining waiver with an impact on the operations of community colleges relates to clinical experiences for certain health programs. The most recent emergency proclamation is linked here. 

The State Board of Education noticed and approved rules that may permit online delivery of the Iowa course for drinking drivers in the future, though no formal approval has been issued by the Iowa Department of Education to date. For now, courses delivered in the state are expected to be delivered in a face-to-face setting, except under certain circumstances. 

Contact Amy Gieseke ( or 515-858-2234) with questions regarding faculty credit hour load, the course for drinking drivers or other aspects of the disaster proclamation; contact Jane Bradley, Lead Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education ( or 515-689-4402) with questions regarding the clinical instruction waiver.

Sector partnerships provide hands-on learning, meet workforce needs

Sector Partnership

Kristi Heisinger knows that a common goal can be a powerful thing. As the facilitator for the Northwest Iowa Manufacturing Sector Partnership, Heisinger has witnessed first-hand how area businesses have successfully worked together to address labor market needs.

“Manufacturers in the area were trying to get something going. They were in need of more employees,” she said. “Our sector partnership was a great way to come together and work on this as an industry instead of doing it individually. It has helped everyone rise.”

In a nutshell, sector partnerships are groups consisting of businesses within a specific industry and region. They convene to work and discuss shared interests and concerns about their industry and how to attract people from the workforce. They often collaborate with education, workforce and economic development and their local communities to develop strategies, increase awareness and promote their work opportunities.

“Sector partnerships are meant to have the employers in the driver’s seat because it puts them in charge,” said Joe Collins, education consultant at the Iowa Department of Education. “They can accomplish more together. They can have the same conversation about common issues and in the meantime, save a lot of time, energy and resources.”

Currently, Iowa has around 40 sector partnerships covering 85 counties. These partnerships cover a wide variety of industries including advanced manufacturing, health care, agriculture and information technology.

Read More

For more information on sector partnerships, contact Joe Collins, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges ( or 515-419-5190).

Apply for the Career Academy Incentive Fund

Career Academy Incentive Fund

Applications for the 2021-22 Career Academy Incentive Fund grant are now being accepted by the Iowa Department of Education. All submissions must be received by Oct. 29.

The Career Academy Incentive Fund expands and increases equitable access to high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs through partnerships between school districts and community colleges. Institutions that demonstrate these partnerships are encouraged to apply for the grant. Priority consideration will be given to applicants who focus on programming delivered through regional centers.

Read More

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

College and career transition counselors training completed


The first cohort of College and Career Transition Counselors (CCTCs) convened on August 10, 2021 for their first-year orientation session. The purpose of the orientation was for the CCTCs to:

  • Understand dynamics of the CCTC role within each partner organization;
  • Create ties/network with other CCTCs across the state;
  • Identify resources, supports and services available to CCTCs; and
  • Set goals for Year 1 programming and outcomes.

The CCTCs heard from a number of individuals including:

  • Ann Lebo, Iowa Department of Education
  • Sue Schirmer, Heartland AEA
  • Christina Sibaouith, Keyli Keifer and Jamie Covell, Iowa College Aid
  • Erick Danielson, I-CAN
  • Theresa Putnam-Genz, Louisa Muscatine School District
  • David Ford, Mississippi Bend AEA
  • Dennis Harden, Iowa Department of Education

The CCTC initiative is a collaborative effort between the Department of Education, Iowa College Aid and AEA Prep to support CCTCs across the state who will work directly through community colleges and secondary schools to support college transition and career exploration through targeted connections with students and families during crucial time frames, including preparation, transition to enrollment and persistence through their postsecondary program.  

For more information, contact Katy Blatnick-Gagne, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education ( or 515-681-6733).

Iowa eTranscript Gateway resource now available


A unique partnership between the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Board of Regents and Iowa State University is making the Iowa eTranscript Gateway – a much-anticipated innovation – a reality, and now there is a website where you can regularly check for information and updates. Visit the site here and click on the Frequently Asked Questions button on the home page. The eTranscript Gateway is in the process of being built and will be tested by pilot schools this year before being fully launched.

The Iowa eTranscript Gateway interfaces with Iowa high schools’ Student Information Systems (SIS) to gather the data needed to produce a transcript for a student and securely transmit it electronically to anywhere in the world, either as a PDF or, for those colleges and universities that prefer, a data stream that can be imported directly into the college admissions office's SIS. The eTranscript is standardized, meaning the same pieces of information are included for every student regardless of their school’s SIS or grading system.

This innovative tool offers many benefits to high schools and postsecondary institutions, including improved data security, quality and cost savings. Visit the website for more information or to sign up to take part in testing.

For more information, please contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges ( or 515-725-2247).

Department of Education and Department of Public Health partner to address healthcare workforce needs

healthcare workers

The Iowa Department of Education is continuing an interagency partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health to address the growing skilled health care workforce needs in Iowa. A robust career pathways resource was created in 2018 to build awareness for these careers, a health science work-based learning toolkit was created in 2019 to empower health care providers and educators to build work-based learning programs, and a health science professional licensure data project was piloted in 2020. The career pathways resource is also in the process of being reviewed and updated to be more engaging and effective with a younger audience, including partnering with students from the Waukee APEX program through a project posted on the Future Ready Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning. 

The new and innovative health professional licensing project collects data from various professional licensing boards or agencies across the state, including the Iowa Dental Board, Board of Nursing, and Department of Inspections and Appeals, and combines it with additional education, labor, and wage data to help paint a more clear picture of how licensing impacts our health care workforce. The Department is currently working on updating the preliminary findings and interactive data tables, in addition to adding additional boards, public and private 4-year colleges, and other strategic project partners.

Visit to learn more about this project and other valuable information, or contact Paula Nissen, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges ( or 515-210-9465) or Joe Collins, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges ( or 515-419-5190).

Park and Institutional Roads Program Fund application process now open


The State Park and Institutional Roads Program application process is now open. Submissions close Friday, October 29, 2021 at 11:59 PM.

The fund provides funding to construct, reconstruct, improve and maintain roadways, including bridges, within the boundaries of state-owned lands or community college property. Sixty-five one-hundredths of one percent of the Road Use Tax Fund is allocated for maintenance and improvement of the State Park and Institutional Roads system. There are over 600 miles of roadways in the Park and Institutional Roads System. State agencies participating in the program are the Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC), the Iowa Department of Education (DOE) State Fair Board, Department of Human Services (DHS), National Guard of Iowa, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Board of Regents and Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Capitol Complex. Each agency is allocated a percentage of the fund based on the Iowa Code, as follows: Iowa DNR (45.5%), Board of Regents (30%), Iowa DHS (6.5%), Iowa DOE (6%), Iowa DOC (5.5%), National Guard of Iowa (4%), State Fair Board (2%) and Iowa DAS Capitol Complex (0.5%). 

Please contact Jeff Fletcher, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education ( or 515-321-7309) for more information. 

Save the Date: Iowa Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Best Practices Conference

save the date

The Iowa ACTE Best Practices annual conference will be held face-to-face on September 22, 2021 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. Iowa ACTE serves all educators and administrators in secondary (5-12) and postsecondary career and technical education settings. Their mission is to promote and support quality career and technical education for everyone through leadership, advocacy, communication, professional development and partnership. This year's conference will kick off with a CTE Without Limits presentation by Advance CTE and the CTE Bureau. A wide range of workshops will be offered during the conference. 

Registration is currently open and available through September 14. Additional information can be found on the Iowa ACTE website.

Katy Blatnick-Gagne named ACTE Family and Consumer Sciences Education Division vice president


Katy Blatnick-Gagne, education program consultant for career and technical education, was appointed by the Associate of Career and Technical Education Board of Directors to fill the position of Family and Consumer Sciences Education Division Vice President. Blatnick-Gagne's term will begin July 2022 and will end June 30, 2025. 

Matt Eddy named to National FFA Board of Directors

Matt Eddy

Matthew Eddy was recently named to the National FFA Board of Directors. Eddy currently serves as an agricultural education consultant and state FFA advisor for Iowa, and has served on the board in the past as a teacher representative for the U.S. Department of Education. He finished his term in 2019.