July Community College Leader Bulletin

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

Volume 12, Issue 12                                                                       July 2022                                            educateiowa.gov

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

Apply now for the Career Academy Incentive Fund


The Department has opened the first application period for the Career Academy Incentive Fund (CAIF). The deadline to submit an application during this first round will be November 3, 2022.

The CAIF was created through the reauthorization of the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund in 2019. It provides targeted grants of up to $1 million to support partnerships between school districts, community colleges, business and industry and other partners that expand access to career academy programs. With a focus on programming delivered through regional centers, proposals for new career academies delivered collaboratively between multiple school districts and a community college through a regional center will receive priority consideration.

Annually, the Iowa Department of Education will award grants of up to $1 million for projects that best meet the criteria specified in statute (the number of grants issued will be based on the amount of available funds and types of applications received).

Application materials for the 2022-2023 CAIF have been updated. To find the most recent grant materials and resources, visit the Department’s CAIF page

For more information, contact Jen Rathje, Education Program Consultant (jennifer.rathje@iowa.gov or (515) 326-5389).

Iowa community college outcomes data featured on new national website

U.S. Census

The Census Bureau, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education and community college staff, have worked collaboratively to include the postsecondary employment outcomes for Iowa's community colleges on the new Postsecondary Employment Outcomes Explorer website. This work will not replace the current employment outcomes data that is annually collected by Iowa’s community colleges and the Iowa Department of Education, but will provide the option for colleges to compare information to other participating colleges across the nation. The website is made possible through data sharing partnerships between universities, university systems, state departments of education, state labor market information offices and the U.S. Census Bureau.

PSEO data provide earnings and employment outcomes for college and university graduates by degree level, degree major and postsecondary institution. These statistics are generated by matching university transcript data with a national database of jobs, using state-of-the-art confidentiality protection mechanisms for underlying data. The Postsecondary Employment Outcomes dashboards include information such as employment percentages by award type one, five and ten years post-graduation; in-state and out-of-state employment percentages; average 25th, 50th and 75th percentile distributions of earnings by award type and program type to industry of employment flows for two- and four-year colleges and universities nationwide. Iowa particularly stands out versus the national average  for the percentage of students with associate degrees who gain employment. In year one, 66.2 percent were employed compared to 65.3 percent nationally; in year five, 79.6 percent were employed compared to 75.2 percent nationally; and in year 10, 79.5 percent were employed compared to 74.3 percent nationally. 

Iowa community colleges are represented by fourteen colleges. Kirkwood Community College data required an additional data exchange and was not ready at the time the U.S. Census Bureau finalized publication for the quarter. Kirkwood’s data will be added as of the end of next calendar quarter, by September 30th. 

For more information, contact Paula Nissen, Administrative Consultant (paula.nissen2@iowa.gov or (515) 418-8273) or Vlad Bassis, Administrative Consultant (vladimir.bassis@iowa.gov or (515) 326-1718).

Department releases noncredit CTE employment outcomes reports


The Department has released reports for the Iowa Community College Employment Outcomes for Noncredit Career and Technical Education for academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. These reports are a statewide analysis on the outcomes of students enrolled in community college noncredit programs. Employment and wages are analyzed in the reports to illustrate the important impact that the noncredit education and training provided by Iowa's community colleges has on the state's economy. 


For more information, contact Paula Nissen, Administrative Consultant (paula.nissen2@iowa.gov or (515) 418-8273).

Department awards grants for paraeducator certification


The Department announced a grant opportunity a few weeks ago which provides funding to eligible training providers offering an approved paraeducator program to support Governor Reynolds' new Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program. This grant allowed the awarded training providers the means to offer paraeducator certification training to candidates at no cost. An estimated 285 students are expected to enter and complete their certification with an additional funding opportunity currently underway for students entering in the fall.

For more information, contact Kelly Faga, Education Program Consultant (kelly.faga@iowa.gov or (515) 205-4697).

Temporary health care workers encouraged to get certification


During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Iowans went above and beyond to become temporary nurse aides in health care facilities across the state. These vital emergency health care workers provided much-needed care and support for some of Iowa’s most vulnerable populations.

Today, temporary nurse aides, commonly known as TNAs, are facing a deadline. They must become certified in order to continue their care. Without certification, many facilities may face staffing concerns in an already-stretched job market.

A blanket emergency waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which allowed TNAs to provide support during the pandemic, has expired, and temporary workers must now complete a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course and testing by Oct. 6 in order to continue working in their current facilities.

“The need for health care workers remains high,” said Jane Bradley, administrative consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. “The TNAs have filled an important gap in employment for facilities, especially in rural areas. To give up the workforce filled by TNAs would create a hardship.”

In response, community colleges across the state are offering CNA courses for temporary workers who need to complete the requirement. Approved CNA trainings require 75 hours of instruction and the successful completion of the state skills and competency testing, and Iowa community colleges are offering several scheduling options for TNAs looking for certification.

“There is a fast-track class that can be completed in three weeks, or you can try a full semester timeline of six to eight weeks of training,” said Tammy Steinwandt, health-care coordinator for continuing education at Des Moines Area Community College. “We offer a variety of times, classes and dates for individuals to become certified.”

As an added incentive, many TNAs are able to enroll in the CNA course and testing at no cost to them.

“This is actually a great time to be a student,” Steinwandt said. “Since there is a high need for workers in this high-demand field, there are a lot of funding opportunities.”

Read More

For more information, contact Dennis Harden, Bureau Chief (dennis.harden@iowa.gov or (515) 281-4716).

Summertime brings college course opportunities for high schoolers

CNA College Credit

Seventeen-year-old Jenna Frerichs knows a good deal when she sees one. This summer, she enrolled in the certified nursing assistant course at Iowa Lakes Community College, which is allowing her to earn valuable credentials to jump start her future career in health care. And most important, she is getting to do it all for free.

Moving into its fourth year of operation, Iowa’s Summer College Credit Program (SCCP) offers high school students like Jenna the opportunity to access college-credit coursework in career and technical education (CTE) programs at no cost during the summer semester. SCCP is provided through an agreement between Iowa’s 15 community colleges and local school districts and is funded partially through a state appropriation of $600,000.

Iowa students entering grades 9-12 are eligible to participate in SCCP, and each year, demand for the program grows.

“During the past three years, nearly 3,700 students have participated,” said Jen Rathje, education consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. “We have seen tremendous growth in the Summer College Credit Program each year since its inception. In fact, out of 335 high schools, 194 public schools and 21 accredited nonpublic schools have had students participate.”

Currently, there are 38 SCCP programs running this summer, and 12 of those programs – like certified nursing assistant (CNA) and welding – provide opportunities for students to immediately earn a recognized credential.

Read More

For more information, contact Jen Rathje, Education Program Consultant (jennifer.rathje@iowa.gov or (515) 326-5389).

Iowa Adult Education and Literacy Summer Conference keynote speakers highlight importance of AEL for immigrant and refugee women

AEL Keynotes

When Caryn Kelly and Lilian Okech met in 2017 as fellow entrepreneurs in the cleaning business, they knew they shared a bond and a common goal. They wanted to make their communities a better place for immigrants and refugees – and they knew their efforts were stronger together.

Kelly and Okech – co-founders of Hope to Shine, a new non-profit focused on developing the potential of immigrant and refugee women – are coming to Ankeny on July 26-28 to share their experiences and philosophies at the upcoming Iowa Adult Education and Literacy Summer Conference. Their keynote session will focus on the importance of adult education and literacy for immigrants and refugees and how those courses can help individuals make important relationships within their communities and propel them to success.

“Connections are one of the most beneficial things immigrants and refugees can gain through adult education and literacy courses,” Kelly said.

Both women consider their work and support of immigrants and refugees as their life’s calling, but their individual journeys to reach this point have been different. Kelly has a master’s degree in language, reading and culture as well as experience as an English and civics-citizenship educator, intercultural outreach coordinator for West Des Moines Community Schools and AmeriCorps program manager. Her cleaning business, Shine Housekeeping, was established to employ English-language learners and help them achieve their American dreams.

“Shine Housekeeping is dedicated to creating positive employment and learning opportunities for immigrant and refugee women as they make their new homes in central Iowa,” Kelly said.

Read More

For more information, contact Elizabeth Johnson, Education Program Consultant (elizabeth.johnson2@iowa.gov or (515) 971-0469). 

Kids get a ‘KICK’ out of Kirkwood Community College career exploration camps


You couldn’t have asked for a better summer day at the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids. It was sunny, 80 degrees and filled with young minds ready to learn and explore future careers.

The Kirkwood Interactive Camps for Kids (KICK) offers a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, which have become a summer staple for local youth ages 8 to 15. Since 2006, these camps provide fun and highly energized activities that help develop skills, build friendships and start early career exploration. Over 1,000 students from seven counties are estimated to participate in the camps each year.

“The KICK camps are designed to support learning while having fun,” said Melanie Bouzek, program developer for continuing education and KICK director at Kirkwood Community College. “While at the camps, kids can get exposure to what they like and don’t like in a particular career field.”

The camps for kids are offered in six different Kirkwood-affiliated locations in the Cedar Rapids and Coralville areas. Families can sign their children up for in-person or online camps that can run anywhere from a single session to five days. Popular activities include camps on health care, culinary arts, welding, mock trial, computer science and more.

“The computer science camps are very popular right now because we tie them into games they know, like Roblox and Minecraft,” Bouzek said.

Eleven-year-old Brenna Winterhof is a huge Roblox fan. Her favorite game is Piggy, which inspired her to check out the three-day KICK camp on designing and coding in Roblox.

“It’s a really fun game, and I wanted to know how to create my own things,” she said

Read More

Iowa Agricultural Education Summer Conference unites secondary and postsecondary educators

Iowa Ag Educators

More than 200 secondary and postsecondary instructors from across Iowa covened at the Iowa Agricultural Education Summer Conference held at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, Iowa, June 27-29, 2022. The conference provides professional development and a space to foster sharing of ideas from agriculture programs across the state. The conference was organized and facilitated by the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators (IAAE) with support from the Iowa Department of Education.

This year’s theme was “Best Practices”. Speakers, programming and activities focused on fostering professionalism and communication among agricultural educators. Mini workshops were held on topics including Agricultural Advocacy, Skills and Leadership CDEs, All In for Ag Education and Professional Certifications. Learning activities included BriefCASE Training, new teacher mentoring and training and time to interact with agricultural education professionals from all corners of the state.    

IAAE professional organization activities were also conducted during the conference including policy making, the election of new officers and the recognition of outstanding Iowa agricultural instructors and programs.

For more information, contact Matt Eddy, Education Program Consultant (matt.eddy@iowa.gov or (515) 720-8863).

Dzurick assumes role as chair of FBLA-PBL Board of Directors


After serving on the National FBLA-PBL Board of Directors since 2019, Chris Dzurick was voted in as chair-elect of the Board in July 2021. He will assume his role as chair starting on August 1, 2022 until the end of his term on July 31, 2023.

Career opportunities within the Division

Come 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 seeking applicants for a policy and finance administrative consultant who will provide support and leadership for the Bureau of Community Colleges. The position closes August 7. 

To learn more about opportunities within the Division, please contact Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation (jeremy.varner@iowa.gov or (515) 281-8260.