WATERLOO—An innovative plan developed by Iowa’s community colleges to train thousands of workers in high-demand fields is being recognized today with a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
A consortium, consisting of all 15 community colleges in Iowa jointly applied for funding to build training capacity in the areas of Information Technology, Healthcare, Utilities, and Manufacturing – also known as the “IHUM” Network. Grant funds will be used statewide to create more than 45 additional training certificates in the IHUM targeted areas.
“The 15 members of the Iowa community college consortium are honored to be named as recipients for this federal grant. This truly was a collaborative effort and we would like to acknowledge our business partners – as well as our state and federal officials for their full support of this statewide workforce initiative. The focus of this initiative is to connect people to jobs and ultimately to expand our skilled workforce,” said Dr. Linda Allen, president of Hawkeye Community College. Hawkeye had an opportunity to lead the consortium of 15 Iowa community colleges to develop and submit this proposal. The College will use its portion of the grant funding to expand its credit and non-credit Industrial Maintenance program offerings.
The IHUM consortium project was one of 71 awarded nationwide under this year’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants. Created in 2009, this is the fourth and final round of TAACCCT grants. The awards are used to support community colleges in developing partnerships with employers to educate and train individuals for in-demand jobs. The IHUM consortium project award is believed to be the largest TAACCCT grant awarded to the state of Iowa from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Through this project, Iowa’s community colleges will be aligning the state’s Information Technology, Healthcare, Utilities, and Manufacturing training programs with industry recognized credentials – such as those contained in the National Association of Manufacturer’s endorsed Skills Certification System. The programs will assist a number of workers including those that are TAA-eligible, veterans, and other adult workers in need of training.
In addition, the IHUM consortium project will incorporate evidence-based strategies taken from a review of best practices from previously-funded TAACCCT projects. Those strategies include comprehensive career pathways, use of simulation and technology, intensive student support services, and statewide data related to employment opportunities.
The project was supported by more than 30 businesses and business associations in Iowa. The funding will be allocated over a four-year time period beginning on October 1, 2014.
Additional information on the TAACCCT grant program and the awarded funds is available in the White House news release: www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/29/fact-sheet-vice-president-biden-announces-recipients-450-million-job-dri.