MUSCATINE, Iowa–A $900,000 Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) grant will help as many as 120 Muscatine County families, or ove 300 individuals, receive the help and training they need to provide their families a brighter future. The HRSA grant, awarded to Trinity Muscatine Public Health, will help fund the Fueling the Future program, a collaboration of community agencies working to improve the livelihood of families by providing a six-week “earn as you learn” up-skill training. The program is offered to qualifying families of elementary school-aged children currently receiving weekend “backpack” food subsidies. The program also provides, among other services, short-term healthy food deliveries, transportation assistance, quality daycare options and help with housing stabilization.
“Trinity Public Health is thrilled to receive this grant so we as a community can continue to help our most vulnerable families who truly want a better life for themselves and their children,” says Christy Roby Williams, Director of Muscatine County Public Health. “Fueling the Future has always striven to provide parents with meaningful assistance while they focus on gaining the skills they need to secure stable employment and a higher wage. We want to thank HRSA for recognizing our work and the families of Muscatine County.”
“We know that children can’t fill their heads when their bellies are empty. In Muscatine alone, more than 200 elementary children take backpacks filled with food home each weekend to stem their hunger. Working with this core group of dedicated partners we have developed a disruptive model, focusing on a continuum of interconnected steps to reduce barriers and advance their families’ financial base through education and strengthened employment for their parents. The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine is thrilled to be able to partner with other community leaders and committed organizations on this transformative pilot project,” says Charla Schafer, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.
Fueling the Future is a multi-stepped pilot program to provide urgent stabilization of family issues, education for the custodial adults in high demand jobs, long-term advancement of skilled workers in the community, and a stronger next-generation Iowa workforce. Courses are being offered through Muscatine Community College in welding, computer numerical controls, and certified nursing assistant certificates.
“The HRSA grant provides a great opportunity for Muscatine to demonstrate what we’ve shown so well before – people within our local organizations collaborating for the benefit of the community. With this grant, MCC will have the opportunity to serve over 100 families and give them access to education and a chance for a higher paying, more stable position. This has the potential to change the trajectory of our rural communities. The three short-term programs (CNA, CNC, Welding) can be seen as on-ramps to furthering their education and can lead to further degrees and certificates. We are also looking forward to the kids in the selected families being inspired by their parents going to college, which may help them set a new goal for themselves, as well,” says Dr. Naomi DeWinter, President, Muscatine Community College.
“This is an amazing collaboration between UnityPoint Health – Trinity, Muscatine Public Health and community agencies to improve the well-being of our community members. Together, as one, we will make a focused impact on the lives of families and our community as a whole. Our participants will benefit and so will the businesses and organizations who employ a skilled workforce. This truly is a new day for Muscatine,” says Angie Johnson, Chief Human Resource Officer, UnityPoint Health – Trinity.
Fueling the Future will formalize an integrated health network comprised of public health, mental health, Muscatine County schools and college, community-based organizations, and area employers; including: Muscatine Community College, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, the City of Muscatine, Muscatine Center for Social Action, United Way, Aligned Impact Muscatine, Robert Young Center, and the Muscatine Community School District.
Federal, state, local, private, and public funding has been garnered for this collaborative life-changing delivery system. Financial contributors include HRSA, the State of Iowa Future Ready Iowa program, Kent Corp., Bayer, HNI, Toyota Muscatine, Trinity Muscatine Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, United Way, and University of Iowa Public Health.
For more information, visit www.fuelingthefutureiowa.org.