Iowa invests in training for non-degree job fields

Fewer students are enrolling at Iowa state universitiesand the State Board of Regents is meeting this week to discuss ways to change that.

Community college is another option, and this year, the Iowa Department of Education awarded nearly $3 million in grants available to train people in several high-demand fields that do not require a four-year degree.

Jeremy Varner, administrator of the Community Colleges and Workforce Readiness Division for the Iowa Department of Education, said there is a need for employees with very important skills. – who could take their training and then start right away. “We desperately need more people in commercial truck driving, machining, nurse assist and HVAC,” Varner said. “There are these high-demand career fields this does not require a lot of training to get into.”

Iowa State Universities have seen enrollment plummet since 2017, in part because not everyone has the money or time to pursue an education.

A new report from a pair of education-related nonprofitsAmerican Student Assistance and Jobs for the Future says careers have become more diverse and there are more paths to success today than there were a few years ago.

While some research has shown people with certain types of college degrees have higher incomes, Varner said there’s also demand for other essential services that pay well. He said he believes getting grant money into the hands of Iowa students, training them and getting them into the workforce, would also pay dividends for the state. “We can have a substantial impact,” Varner said, “for businesses, for the state’s economy, and for the earnings of individuals who enter these career fields.”

The previously mentioned joint report finds growing support in Congress for non-degree paths.

The report calls for political and financial investments, like Iowa’s community college model, to help future workers get the job skills they need instead of four-year degrees.

(Photo via Adobe Stock Images)


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