by Mary Stroka
Several career-focused educational grants and funding opportunities were announced last week for Iowa institutions.
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced funding initiatives in her 2022 Condition of the State Address, including the first-in-the nation Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Grant Program.
Through the program, current high school students can earn paraeducator certificates and associates degrees, and paraeducators can earn their bachelor’s degree while learning and working in the classroom. The program starts in the 2022-2023 school year.
Iowa will spend $9 million in American Rescue Plan Act Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief funding on the program.
School districts must partner with local community colleges or four-year colleges to provide the required education and training. The Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Workforce Development will provide up to $40,500 over three years per high school student who completes either the paraeducator certificate or the associate’s degree model. The DOE will provide up to $47,000 over two years for every paraeducator who completes the bachelor’s degree.
Specifically, that funding will support tuition and fees up to $7,000 for up to three years at a community college and up to $17,000 per year for up to two years at a public or private four-year college. The state will support a $12 hourly wage for high school aids and half of districts’ wages for aides and paraeducators for up to 30 hours per week for 36 weeks.
Reynolds also announced the Iowa Health Careers Registration Apprenticeship Grant, which opened Jan. 12 and goes through March 1.
The grant will provide high school students the opportunity to explore careers in the field while being paid and helping address workforce shortages, a Wednesday news release from Reynolds’ office said.
Grant recipients must establish a new or expand an existing, high school-based Registered Apprenticeship program modeled on the Patient Care Registered Apprenticeship program that was launched last year at the Career Academy of Pella.
Through the apprenticeship program, students can become a certified nursing assistant before they leave high school and become qualified to work in roles including medical surgical tech, lab tech, and phlebotomist. Awards can be used to purchase equipment, training materials, uniforms or other costs for the program.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday Iowa Western Community College would receive $475,000 for its aircraft maintenance technician school as part of $5 million in grants the agency to encourage students to pursue aviation maintenance careers.
Iowa Western plans to use the funding to increase enrollment and update the curriculum and equipment, Executive Director of Economic and Workforce Development Matt Mancuso told The Daily Nonpareil, it reported. The college will increase efforts to recruit veterans and work more with local high schools and expand the program up to 25 students by adding a lab assistant.
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