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.

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.