November Community College Leader Bulletin

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Community College Leader Bulletin - A publication from the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation

Volume 12, Issue 4                                                                       November 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

Department of Education Director Ann Lebo visits ILCC, NIACC

Director Lebo ILCC

Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo has been busy making visits around the state, including to community colleges and regional centers. On October 26, Director Lebo visited Iowa Lakes Community College’s 50,000 square-foot Sustainable Energy Resources and Technology (SERT) Facility which provides hands-on training for students looking to enter the renewable energy industry . While there, she donned safety gear and made the 25-story climb up a wind turbine. Director Lebo was excited to make the climb, but also at the opportunities SERT provides students.

"I was so impressed with the state-of-the-art facilities and the sustainable energy programs offered at Iowa Lakes," said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. "These incredible opportunities offer students pathways to in-demand careers and help ensure Iowa employers have a strong talent pipeline that they need to innovate and grow."

On October 27, Director Lebo, along with North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) President, Steve Schulz and other state and local leaders, gave remarks at the ribbon cutting for the John V. Hanson Career Center in Forest City. The center was made possible in part by a $1 million dollar grant from the Iowa Department of Education, and will serve Forest City, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Lake Mills, and North Iowa school districts. Students will have access to CTE programs in high-demand fields, including health care, advanced manufacturing, construction and information technology. The new center is the first to serve students in NIACC’s north central Iowa service region. 

“School-business partnerships that grow work-based learning are more vital than ever to ensure high school graduates are ready for college or career training and that Iowa has the skilled workforce needed to strengthen our communities and our economy,” Lebo said. “The John V. Hanson Career Center represents a promising future for Iowa students and will build a strong talent pipeline that Iowa companies need to grow and innovate.”

The Department is looking forward to scheduling additional community college visits this spring.

For more information, please contact Heather Doe, Communications Director, ( or (515) 281-7967).

Preliminary guidance on student free speech; racism and sexism training released


The Department of Education has released preliminary guidance on House Files 744: Student Free Speech and 802: Parameters for Racism and Sexism Training, which took effect July 1, 2021. Each covers public school districts and public institutions of higher education. The guidance outlines directives for community colleges and provides definitions of key terms in each law.  

For more information, please contact Amy Gieseke, Bureau Chief, ( or (515) 858-2234).

Fall Enrollment Report released

fall enrollment

The Iowa Department of Education has released the 2021 Fall Enrollment Report. This report includes enrollment information from all 15 Iowa community colleges as reported for the 2021 fall semester/quarter.

Enrollment for this fall decreased to 81,749 students, down 1.6 percent from 2020; this is compared to a 5.6 percent decrease in enrollment nationally. The number of high school students participating in joint enrollment increased 3.4 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decrease nationally. Part-time enrollment continued to be the largest segment and reached an all-time high of 65.1 percent of fall enrollment. The proportion of minority students increased to a record high of 23.8 percent. With students largely being back in the classroom, online enrollment fell 15.9 percent.

From last fall, the number of male students increased 0.3 percent compared to a 4.7 percent decrease nationally. Female students decreased 3.1 percent, compared to 6.8 percent nationally. Female students still account for the largest proportion of enrollment at 56.6 percent.

For more information, please contact Dan Li, Education Program Consultant, ( or (515) 281-3503) or Vlad Bassis ( or (515) 281-3671). 

Department of Education awards statewide pathway navigator grants


The Department of Education has awarded grants funded by Ascendium Education Group to Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa Central Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Kirkwood Community College and Southeastern Community College to fund statewide pathway navigator positions. These navigators will assist incarcerated individuals to identify an educational pathway upon entry to the correctional institution and during any D.O.C.-mandated treatment by supporting the participant through completion of their educational credential through transfer and post release. By being connected statewide to the educational programs offered by all academic institutions, navigators will be able to offer focused academic or career guidance and promote information that allows students to choose the academic programming that best suits their interests and aptitudes. With correctional staffing support, participants will be able to be identified early and navigators can begin to:

  • Assess skills, interests, and previous academic and work experience for purposes of placement in pathways for academic career and employment training;
  • Work to develop academic and career plans;
  • Assist applying for financial aid and other forms of tuition assistance; and
  • Assist in identifying and resolving obstacles to success.

These educational services will be incorporated into the prescribed DOC treatment plan so that remedial and course enrollment can occur in prison with sufficient time to allow participants to build general credit and earn certifications prior to release.

The statewide navigator positions are also supported by the Iowa Consortium for Higher Education in Prisons (ICHEP), a partnership between the Iowa Department of Corrections, Board of Regents and the Iowa Department of Education. Voting members consist of all educational providers currently offering and planning on offering services in a correctional site. The consortium recognizes and supports the rehabilitative power of postsecondary instruction for incarcerated students. According to a report from the Department of Education, 21.6 percent of Iowa’s incarcerated population who were released in 2018 received education through an Iowa community college in programs, including adult education, agriculture, business, transportation and logistics, health science and manufacturing. ICHEP works to expand these opportunities for Iowa’s incarcerated community to improve their lives, reduce recidivism and support Iowa’s workforce. More information about ICHEP can be found here.

For more information, contact Alex Harris, Education Program Consultant ( or (515) 423-7282).

Work-based learning virtual workshops now available


A series of work-based learning virtual workshops are now available for educators, instructors and staff to attend on Tuesdays at noon. The workshops are designed to provide important information in a targeted delivery with free resources and tangible next steps for attendees. These workshops will be led by the Department and additional work-based learning leaders from across the state. *Workshops will be recorded and available at no cost through the Iowa Work-Based Learning Coordinator's Schoology site.

Register to attend these free, virtual work-based learning workshops:

  • Embedding Work-Based Learning into Curriculum
  • Scaffolding Work-Based Learning Experiences for Students
  • Meeting Perkins V Work-Based Learning Goals
  • Developing an Internship Program

These workshops will be led by Kristy Volesky and are presented as part of the statewide work-based learning initiative the Department supports along with Iowa Workforce Development (Linda Rouse) and the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council (Jeff Weld). 

For more information, please contact Kristy Volesky, Education Program Consultant, ( or (515) 281-3615).

Grant applications for college and career transition counselor positions due December 15


The College and Career Transition Counselor (CCTC) grant application is currently open and will close December 15. Iowa's current CCTC model can help provide high school juniors and seniors with the additional career-based services needed to be successful after high school graduation. Five start-up grants will be awarded to community college-school district partnerships that create new CCTC positions for the 2022-2023 academic year.

To start an application, log in or create a new account in IowaGrants. The College and Career Counselor Partnership Toolkit is also available on the Department website. 

For more information, please contact Katy Blatnick-Gagne, Education Program Consultant, ( or (515) 681-6733).

Career and Technical Education Bureau staff updates


The Career and Technical Education Bureau at the Department of Education has updated the education program consultants who cover computer science, business and marketing. Justin Lewis will now cover computer science along with information solutions. Chris Dzurick will cover business and marketing along with Career and Technical Student Organizations. This change is effective immediately. Please see the CTE contact page on the Department of Education site for all service area contact information.

For more information, please contact Dennis Harden, Bureau Chief, ( or (515) 281-4716).

Division welcomes new clerk specialist for drinking driver program


The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation is pleased to announce that Pamela Dolezal has joined the Community Colleges team as of November 15 as the clerk specialist for the OWI program.

Pam comes to us with over 10 years of direct customer support experience, working most recently as a Senior Process Team Leader for Infosys McCamish Systems.

Within the division, she will be responsible for working with the public to connect them to drinking driver courses. Iowa law stipulates that individuals found to have been operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated—either by failing a sobriety test or refusing to test—must complete a mandated "drinking and driving course that encourages the offender to assess the offender's own drinking and driving behavior in order to select practical alternatives."