OTTUMWA — Indian Hills Community College on Monday became one of three institutions in the state to be awarded a $1 million grant through new Career Academy Incentive Fund to prepare high school students for success in college, postsecondary training and the workforce.

The grant will increase access to career academy programs in high-demand fields through new and expanded regional centers. Students enrolled in the regional centers will benefit from industry partnerships, earn high school and college credit, and gain technical and traditional academic skills offered through career and technical education (CTE) programs.

“We are excited to be the recipient of a Career Academy Incentive Fund Grant to establish the Hills West Regional Center on the Indian Hills Centerville Campus," said Matt Thompson, IHCC president. "The establishment of the Regional Center is an investment in the education of students attending Albia, Centerville, Davis County, Moravia, Moulton-Udell, Seymour and Wayne school districts. We are thankful to those districts for participating in the grant application as partners."

Students attending the Hills West Regional Center can take classes while earning both high school and college credit in the following Indian Hills programs: agricultural sciences, business, construction technology, computer science, health sciences, industrial maintenance, and welding technology.

Thompson also said: “We know that this grant will help us leverage additional funds as we continue to find a way to create a new, high-quality academic facility on the Centerville Campus. The establishment of a new academic building that includes expanded and improved learning environments for all programs included in the Hills West Regional Center is integral to the continued growth of businesses and industry in Appanoose, Davis, Monroe and Wayne Counties. We know the call for skilled workers in these fields is high in southeast and south-central Iowa, and Indian Hills is committed to training those individuals on the Centerville Campus.”

“Expanding career academies develops our workforce talent pipeline and prepares high school students for high-skill, in-demand careers right here in Iowa. It’s about our students being able to find something they’re passionate about while also earning valuable industry experience and college credit,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. “I commend Eastern Iowa Community College, Indian Hills and Waterloo Community Schools for their leadership in growing career academies to meet the needs of students, families, schools and employers in their local communities.”

The Career Academy Incentive Fund was established by a 2019 law that extends a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure, called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE), through January 2051. At least $1 million will be awarded annually to support career academy partnerships among community colleges, school districts, business and industry, regional planning partnerships, Area Education Agencies and others to increase student access to college programs, state-of-the-art equipment and career paths in Iowa’s in-demand fields.

More information on the Career Academy Incentive Fund is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

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