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New state program addresses skilled workforce shortage in Iowa

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 12:26 p.m. CST

DES MOINES — The Iowa College Student Aid Commission announced today that an estimated 4,400 students will be the first recipients of a new state grant program aimed at increasing the number of skilled workers in the state.

The Iowa Skilled Workforce Tuition Grant is also referred to as the Kibbie Grant after former Iowa Senate President, Jack Kibbie, who sponsored the bill that created the grant during the 2012 session. An additional $5 million was provided in the education appropriations bill to fund the grants for Iowa students enrolled in specified vocational-technical or career option programs at Iowa community colleges. Iowa Workforce Development estimates that some 50 percent of all jobs in the state require an associate’s degree, certification, or apprenticeship training, but only 33 percent of Iowa workers have such skills.

“Iowa employers have jobs they need to fill, but the state doesn’t currently have the skilled workforce needed,” said Karen Misjak, executive director of Iowa College Aid, the agency responsible for the administration of the program. “The Kibbie Grant is a win-win for everyone. It provides much needed financial assistance to students at our community colleges while helping to increase the number of skilled workers needed in job shortage fields.”

More information about the Kibbie Grant can be found on Iowa College Aid’s website, www.IowaCollegeAid.gov.