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Iowa Department of Education awards over $1.7 million to 20 school districts to help high schoolers earn industry-recognized credentials


DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Education today awarded over $1.7 million in competitive grants to 20 Iowa school districts focused on aligning secondary career and technical education programs with student attainment of industry-recognized credentials. The Credentials to Careers grant awards will support high school students 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. We commend the awardees for their leadership in realizing our shared priority to expand multiple pathways to postsecondary success.”

The following 20 districts were awarded a one-time Credentials to Careers grant:

Cedar Rapids Community School District
Council Bluffs Community School District
Fort Madison Community School District
Gilbert Community School District
Hamburg Community School District
Harlan Community School District
Indianola Community School District
Iowa Valley Community School District
Johnston Community School District
Mason City Community School District
New London Community School District
Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community School District
Sioux City Community School District
South Hamilton Community School District
Spencer Community School District
Stanton Community School District
Treynor Community School District
Waukee Community School District
Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District
Woodbine Community School District
Industry-recognized credentials are certifications, credentials or licenses 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 health sciences, information technology, construction, manufacturing, child development, culinary and business.

In determining awards, competitive district applicants demonstrated clear, sustainable plans to align one or more existing CTE pathways with student attainment of industry-recognized credentials. Award amounts were determined by the expenditures outlined in each applicant’s budget proposal, all of which must be directly related to the attainment of an industry-recognized credential through a secondary CTE program. Allowable costs could 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, instructor training expenses required to offer the credential and curriculum enhancements.

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Grants will be distributed this spring for district implementation during the 2024-2025 school year.

More information about the Credentials to Careers Grant is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website on the Industry-Recognized Credentials page.


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