On Tuesday, August 27th, Governor Kim Reynolds announced the first thirteen recipients of the new Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, a matching grant designed to help employers carry out solutions to help their employees achieve postsecondary training and education. The first round of Employer Innovation Fund Grants will distribute over $400,000 in funds to employers across the state.
“The Employer Innovation Fund drives innovation in meeting the workforce challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Reynolds. “These public-private partnerships address barriers for Iowans looking to get the training they need for a life-changing career. The collaboration happening at the grassroots level serves as a catalyst for Future Ready Iowa’s continued success.”
The grants provide opportunities for working Iowans to earn non-credit and for-credit postsecondary credentials leading to high-demand jobs in the state. Employers, community leaders, and others can apply by submitting a proposal for implementing a creative solution to their local workforce needs.
“Employers are a critical part of reaching our Future Ready Iowa goal of having seventy percent of Iowans with postsecondary credentials by 2025,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “The Employer Innovation Fund is unique because it empowers employers to find creative ways to strengthen their local workforce and build upon Iowa’s talent pipeline.”
Employer Innovation Fund Recipients include the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine’s Fueling the Future pilot project. Partnering with Trinity Muscatine Public Health, Muscatine Community College, the City of Muscatine, Muscatine Center for Social Action, Aligned Impact Muscatine, and a collective of Muscatine employers, this program will provide an intensive six week upskilling in the high-demand fields of welding and certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and participants will receive welding or CNA certificates. The project will target adults in low-income families of elementary-aged children receiving weekend “backpack” food subsidies in Muscatine. Families will receive innovative wrap-around services to participants.
The six-week certificate programs offered through Muscatine Community College will cater to adult learners with a focused, intentional, accelerated curriculum to reduce the potential life barriers that can get in the way of student completion. Area hiring employers will participate in paid part-time internships during the six-week sessions with commitments to hire qualified individuals upon completion. The program also includes six months of follow up to help ensure long-term success. Twelve individuals will participate in the initial pilot.