August Community College Leader Bulletin

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

Volume 13, Issue 1                                                                       August 2022                                  

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 Career Academy Incentive Fund is now accepting proposals for the first round of funding for fiscal year 2023. Grant submissions will be accepted through Nov. 3.  

Partnerships between Iowa school districts and local community colleges that promote equitable access to high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs are strongly encouraged to apply. Priority consideration will be given to applicants who focus on programming delivered through a regional center, a central location that offers high school students from several school districts the opportunity to explore career options while earning both high school and college credit. 

The Career Academy Incentive Fund is provided through the 2019 reauthorization of Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE), and individual grant programs can be awarded up to $1 million for career academy development and expansion. The number of grant awards is based on the amount of funds available and the scope of projects submitted. 

Last year, six grants were awarded to partnerships across the state totaling $5.5 million. Recent recipients include Indian Hills Community College, Western Iowa Tech Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Western Community College and North Iowa Area Community College.

Career academies play an important role in expanding access to CTE programs for Iowa’s students. Valuable skill development, career exploration, work-based learning and professional training for high-demand careers are provided through career academies.

Application materials for the 2022-23 Career Academy Incentive Fund have been updated. To find the most recent grant materials and resources, visit the Department’s Career Academy Incentive Fund webpage

For more information, contact Jen Rathje, Education Program Consultant ( or (515) 326-5389).

Iowa Student Outcomes website features one-stop shop for education outcomes data

Iowa Student Outcomes

Planning for the future of education in Iowa calls for data that is not only reliable but also easily accessible. Enter Iowa Student Outcomes, a comprehensive, interactive website that houses education-related data and serves as a useful resource for any decision-maker.

Through a partnership between the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Workforce DevelopmentIowa College AidFuture Ready Iowa and Iowa Board of Regents, the Iowa Student Outcomes website offers users access to a variety of reports and interactive dashboards detailing information on trends in K-12, community colleges, adult education, Iowa public universities, registered apprenticeships and employment. College leaders, school administrators, government officials and students exploring different career and education pathways are encouraged to use the site.

“Successful student outcomes require research and review, which can take time to collect,” said Paula Nissen, administrative consultant at the Iowa Department of Education. “Iowa Student Outcomes provides a one-stop resource on student populations in Iowa.”

Visitors to the site have easy access to several categories of data, and compelling statistics on the homepage welcome users to peruse the site further. Examples of current data highlighted on the site include:

  • Sixty-three percent of Iowa public high school graduates enrolled in postsecondary education within one year.
  • More than 7,860 Iowa students received the Last Dollar Scholarship in 2021 for in-demand careers.
  • Ninety-two percent of community college students who completed a credit program became employed in their first year post-graduation.
  • Over 71,700 students enrolled in Iowa public universities.
  • Nearly 1,400 adult learners earned a high school equivalency diploma in 2020.
  • There are over 30,600 active Certified Nurse Assistant certificates in Iowa.
  • Close to 8,000 active apprentices in Iowa were noted during the first quarter of 2021.
Read More

For more information, contact Paula Nissen, Administrative Consultant ( or (515) 418-8273) or Vlad Bassis, Administrative Consultant ( or (515) 326-1718).

Department to host Senior Year Plus: Basics of Concurrent Enrollment webinar

joint enrollment

Senior Year Plus: Basics of Concurrent Enrollment webinar to be hosted by the Iowa Department of Education

Join Iowa Department of Education consultants Jen Rathje and Erica Woods-Schmitz as they provide an overview of the Senior Year Plus Concurrent Enrollment program. 

School counselors, secondary and postsecondary educational administrators and concurrent enrollment advisors will benefit from participating in the webinar. A general overview of Senior Year Plus (SYP) will be provided and information will be shared on the following topics related to the concurrent enrollment program:

  • Individual career and academic planning (ICAP) and Senior Year Plus programs
  • Who is eligible to participate, how eligibility is determined and postsecondary course opportunities
  • General program requirements, including advising, support services, tuition and textbooks, course retakes and awarding credit
  • The difference between concurrent enrollment and PSEO; 
  • FAQs related to concurrent enrollment; and 
  • Additional resources and guidance related to Senior Year Plus programs

Webinar Title: Senior Year Plus: Basics of Concurrent Enrollment

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2022

Time: 9:00  to 9:50 AM

Location: Zoom

Webinar Registration: Complete the webinar registration form here to attend.

For more information, contact Jen Rathje, Education Program Consultant ( or (515) 326-5389).

New career pathways resource released

Hosp. & Tour Career Pathway

A new career pathways resource was just released to cover a wide range of careers available in Iowa's growing hospitality and tourism fields. This robust and informative resource and eight others covering industries like advanced manufacturing, energy, health science and IT can be found at


For more information, contact Joe Collins, Education Program Consultant ( or (515) 419-5190).

Department awards paraeducator certification grants


The Iowa Department of Education has awarded over 1.18 million dollars in competitive grants to 10 institutions offering paraeducator certification. The purpose of the grant is to support paraeducators participating in the TPRA grant along with
paraeducators pursuing additional training and certification; the grant funds cover the cost of tuition, fees and books. The grant has the potential of training 800 paraeducators in the state of Iowa.


The ten institutions awarded a Title II Paraeducator Grant for summer and fall of 2022 include:

  • Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency
  • Indian Hills Community College
  • Kirkwood Community College
  • Northwest Area Education Agency
  • Iowa Central Community College
  • Iowa Western Community College
  • Heartland AEA
  • Mississippi Bend AEA
  • Upper Iowa University
  • Great Prairie Area Education Agency

For more information, contact Kelly Faga, Education Program Consultant ( or 515-205-4697) or visit the Department's website here.

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 28, 2022, 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%). For more information about this Iowa DOT program, please click here.

For more information, contact Jeff Fletcher, Education Program Consultant ( or (515) 321-7309).

Register now for Iowa BEST Summit

Iowa BEST Summit

Registration is under way for the 2022 Iowa BEST (Behavioral, Equitable, Social-Emotional, Trauma-Informed Health in Schools) Summit to be held in Des Moines Oct. 10-11. The summit is designed for PreK-12 educators, counselors, administrators, paraeducators and school mental health providers. In addition, AEA personnel who support social, emotional and behavioral health, university faculty who support preservice educators and community stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

Sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Center for School Mental Health, the summit will focus on practical solutions for school-based social, emotional and behavioral health.

Participants will learn how to take a holistic approach within their schools, incorporating the latest research, resources and best practices. The goal is to build mental wellness supports and capacity for schools, districts and regions.

Keynote speakers are Robert Brooks and Erika McDowell. 

Brooks has lectured nationally and internationally to audiences of parents, educators, mental health professionals, and business people on topics pertaining to motivation, resilience, family relationships, the qualities of effective leaders and executives, and balancing our personal and professional lives. Brooks has written extensively on behavioral issues in the classroom setting.

McDowell is an Equity Steward for Wildflower Schools and a clinical associate professor of educational leadership and policy at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. Her in-depth experience includes restorative practices, equity, positive behavioral support, conflict resolution, classroom management, coaching, leadership development, and behavioral data support. Dr. McDowell is committed to nurturing the minds and gifts of leaders, teachers, practitioners, and youth nationwide.

Division welcomes new educator preparation education program consultant


The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation is proud to announce that Dr. Stephanie TeKippe joined the team as an education program consultant for educator preparation programs on August 10. She comes to the Department from Wartburg College where she held numerous teaching and leadership roles. On the education preparation team, she will be working on program approval including administrator approval and will coordinate implementation of evaluator training and leadership standards.

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 an education program consultant to provide leadership for the human services/family and consumer science service area in the Bureau of Career and Technical Education. This position closes September 1. The Division also has an opening for a community colleges, policy and finance administrative consultant who will provide leadership and support to the Bureau of Community Colleges. This position closes September 4.  Applicants are also sought for a career and technical education administrative consultant who will provide support and leadership for the Bureau of Career and Technical Education. This position closes September 7. 

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