Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced a $1 million funding opportunity to expand career academy programs across the state in an effort to prepare more high school students for success in the workforce.

Career academies are programs of study in which students benefit from business and industry partnerships, earn high school and college credit, and gain technical and traditional academic skills offered through career and technical education (CTE) programs. CTE, formerly known as vocational education, prepares students for high-demand fields such as health care and advanced manufacturing. 

A new Career Academy Incentive Fund will provide competitive grants to Iowa school districts and community colleges that team up to start or expand career academies that meet the needs of local business and industry, communities and schools. The incentive fund was established as part of a 2019 law that extends a statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) through January 2051.

“We are preparing our young people for a disruptive 21st century economy. Expanding career academies helps students begin their path to high-demand careers in agriculture, business, computer science, advanced manufacturing, engineering, health care and human services,” Reynolds said in a news release. “I appreciate the Legislature’s strong support for the career academy experience.”

Priority consideration will be given to proposals that provide career academies through a regional center, a central location that offers high school students from several school districts the opportunity to explore career options while earning both high school and college credit. 

Grants will range from $250,000 to $1 million to be spent over a three-year period. The application window is open through May 22. Awards will be announced by June 20 for implementation beginning in the 2020-21 school year. 

For more information or to apply for a Career Academy Incentive Fund grant, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website