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North Iowa Area Community College, Northeast Iowa Community College and One Cedar Valley receive federal Title I grant

Thursday, April 25, 2024

The grant partners will work together to design training programs and apprenticeships that align with employers’ needs.

NORTHEAST IOWA—The US Department of Labor has awarded a federal Title I grant to North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) and nonprofit organization One Cedar Valley. The Title I grant funding will support initiatives that provide workforce services to youth and adults who face barriers to employment.

One focus of the grant will support a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program that serves youth ages 12-24 who face barriers to education and employment. Services funded through the grant may include experiential learning such as pre-apprenticeships, internships, on-the-job training or instructional classroom training.  

A second Adult/Dislocated Worker Program supported by the grant will provide services to unemployed and underemployed adults. Dislocated workers may take advantage of individualized career services and training assistance, with the goal of assisting individuals with regaining employment. Funds might be available to also assist with supportive services such as childcare and transportation assistance. 

NIACC is serving as grant leader with partners NICC and One Cedar Valley, located in Waterloo, Iowa. The federal funding, in the amount of $900,000, will allow all grant partners to expand community outreach and increase recruitment and retention of youth and adults who would benefit from workforce services.

NIACC Dean of Continuing Education and Economic Development, Patti Hanson, is excited about the opportunities to serve diverse populations of students in the region.

“Cultivating collaborative partnerships with local employers and community-based organizations is not just a strategy; it's a commitment to empowering adults through WIOA Title I Iowa programming and guiding youth towards personalized pathways for success. Together, we pave the way for brighter futures and stronger communities,” Hanson said.

Building partnerships with local employers and workforce development agencies will be the key to identifying in-demand occupations that could be filled by underemployed, unemployed and dislocated adult workers. The grant partners will work together to design training programs and apprenticeships that align with employers’ needs.

To address the needs of youth who could be served by the Title I grant, NIACC and its partners will provide outreach and communication to both in-school and out-of-school youth. Youth participants would have greater access to workforce services such as career pathway planning, local employment information, guidance on certifications and job placement services, like resume building, interview preparation and networking. 

NICC Vice President of Business and Community Solutions, Amy Lasack, believes the additional source of grant funding could be transformative for youth participants who could align their skills and career goals to employment needs – employment positions that are often high-paying and family-sustaining career options.

NICC is poised to leverage our ties with community-based organizations and schools to unlock the doors to rewarding, higher-paying local careers. We can assist individuals in forging a future where education meets economic empowerment and where every individual has the chance to thrive in our district. We are looking forward to using the resources we already have in place to create more opportunities for youth and adults through this WIOA partnership,” Lasack said.

NIACC, NICC and One Cedar Valley will use an employer-driven education and training services model to assist with meeting local workforce needs. Elements will include employer needs assessment surveys, focus groups and meetings with local employers to understand current and future workforce needs. Through these specific skills, qualifications and competencies will be identified for entry-level positions.

One Cedar Valley officials look forward to collaboration among grant partners and agencies to address the career aspirations and goals of each student they serve.

“In our pursuit of community prosperity, Title 1 for both adults and youth, alongside equitable workforce readiness programming, serves as the compass guiding us towards inclusive growth. Through the dynamic partnership of NICC, NIACC and the Northeast Iowa Workforce Development Board, we embark on a journey where education meets opportunity, empowering individuals to shape their destinies while fueling the collective success of our community. Together, we bridge the gap between ambition and achievement, ensuring that every individual, regardless of background, can contribute meaningfully to our shared goals and aspirations,” Joy Brisco, One Cedar Valley Executive Director, said.

Grant participants will be encouraged to utilize resource centers such as the American Job Center and their online IowaWorks platform. Diverse program options will be discussed such as apprenticeships, certificate programs, on-the-job training and traditional education programs.