Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa—Governor Kim Reynolds visited Muscatine Community College (MCC) Jan. 29 to show her support for the Fueling the Future program numerous community partners will pilot this year. The Fueling the Future program received two Future Ready Iowa matching grants, a program Reynolds expects to expand this year.

Generous grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine (CFGM), HNI, Kent Corporation, MCC, Toyota of Muscatine, the Trinity Muscatine Foundation, and United Way of Muscatine allowed Muscatine to qualify for the Future Ready Iowa Grants they needed to get the pilot program up and running.

During its trial run, Muscatine Community School District and UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine school navigators will identify up to six families of elementary students receiving food backpacks who could benefit from an intensive jobs training program. Once selected, the families will continue to receive food assistance from Muscatine Center for Social Action. Once enrolled in the program, an economic navigator will help each family reduce challenges to participating in the program, such as finding reliable transportation, childcare, and housing, and to get them enrolled in one of MCC’s three accelerated training programs.

For six weeks, parents will study welding, computer numerical control, or certified nursing. They will also work part-time paid internships at several local businesses, including Raymond Corporation, HWH, and Wilton Precision Steel. Upon completion, graduates will take jobs at the employer they interned for, so long as they meet all requirements. For the next six months, economic navigators will continue to work with graduates and businesses to ensure success. The City of Muscatine will also provide self-sufficiency training as needed, and Aligned Impact Muscatine will collect data to track the success of the program.

At the roundtable discussion, representatives from the various community organizations implementing the program, business owners offering internships, matching partners, and students who graduated from other MCC job training programs shared their experiences. Each had high hopes for the program and ideas for helping to Fueling the Future succeed in its trial run.

Reynolds, who has visited several other Future Ready Iowa Grant recipients around the state, felt impressed with what she learned at the roundtable. In particular she valued seeing, “The support system they put in place. They’re talking about financial literacy. They’re talking about, first of all, the people who needed it and the people they want to lift up.”

Reynolds also valued seeing all the various stakeholders coming to the table to discuss every facet of helping program participants have positive outcomes. “All the components that went into the program are incredible, and I think it really, all of it really helps the individuals be successful,” she added.

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