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In Iowa: DOE Announces $1.7 Million in Grants to Support High Schoolers in Earning Industry-Recognized Credentials

The Iowa Department of Education today announced that $1.7 million in competitive grants are available to Iowa school districts to align secondary career and technical education programs with industry-recognized credentials. The new Credentials to Careers grant will support high schoolers earning credentials with labor market value. 

“By expanding opportunities to attain an industry-recognized credential in high school, the Credentials to Careers grant helps connect the classroom to the workforce,” said Iowa Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow. “Students earning portable, stackable credentials will be ready to succeed in high-wage and public-good careers, changing lives and strengthening communities.” 

Industry-recognized credentials are certifications, credentials, or licenses that are vetted by employers and endorsed by a nationally recognized trade association or organization in a particular industry. Credentials are available across many career pathways, including those in health sciences, information technology, construction, manufacturing, child development, culinary, and business. 

By aligning CTE programs with stackable credentials, students can build critical skills to pursue in-demand careers and can accelerate further advanced credential or degree attainment. These portable stackable credentials can be accumulated over time, build upon previous skills, and help close the skills gap between what employers need and the competencies students possess. These opportunities build upon authentic work-based learning, CTE programs, and concurrent enrollment options across Iowa. 

School districts can use the Credentials to Careers grant funding to develop, broaden, and enhance CTE pathway programs. Allowable costs include student exam fees, instructional equipment, non-consumable instructional supplies, computer equipment and software, wired and wireless internet connections, installation costs, instructor training related to new equipment purchases, and instructor training expenses required to offer the credential and curriculum enhancements. 

Read the full version of this press release on the Iowa Department of Education website. 

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