State officials notified 22 applicants yesterday that they’re getting state grants for programs that will give up to a thousand Iowans new job skills.
A few of the winning applicants drove to Des Moines today to talk about their projects. J.B. Holland of Decorah said without the $50,000 state matching grant, his company wouldn’t be able to afford the simulator they’ll now buy to train people to work with heavy construction equipment.
“There wouldn’t have been a return on investment without it,” Holland said, “so it opens up that opportunity.”
Each state grant must be matched by local funds. Ashlee Spannagel, the dean of career and technical education at Southeastern Community College, helped secure a state grant of just over $18,000 to help train Burlington high school students.
“We are really excited about our partnership,” Spannagel said. “We’re working with two local construction companies to develop and provide a pathway to a quality pre-apprenticeship program for high school students.”
Jessica Dunker of the Iowa Restaurant Association said her organization will use its $50,000 matching grant to expand its culinary and management training program to at least six more high schools.
“We have huge need in our industry for people to choose it as a career. We are adding a thousand new jobs net every year for the next 10 (years),” Dunker said. “…We move more people into the middle class faster than any other industry, meaning jobs between $45,000 and $75,000 a year, so this program, this grant for us is life-changing in terms of the schools we can impact, the students we can impact.”
Broadlawns Hospital president and CEO Jody Jenner said the public hospital in Des Moines will use its $50,000 matching grant to help 40 students complete their training to be certified nursing assistants and land a job.
“Obviously this is very good for their household,” Jenner said. “This is one of the poorest neighborhoods in central Iowa and many or most of these people live in this area and that is a tremendous impact.”
Governor Kim Reynolds held a news conference at the hospital this morning to reveal the list of winner from this latest round of grants from the state’s “Future Ready” program. A final round of “Employer Innovation” grants will be awarded in early 2020.