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Senator Ragan works to grow Iowaís economy by helping ALL Iowans improve their skills

DES MOINES ñ State Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City offered proposals today to help Iowa businesses searching for skilled employees and Iowa workers looking to improve their lives.|(Press release from State Senator Amanda Ragan)

DES MOINES ñ State Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City offered proposals today to help Iowa businesses searching for skilled employees and Iowa workers looking to improve their lives.

The proposal helps unemployed and underemployed adults to complete industry-recognized certificate programs at local community colleges.

“Iowa’s future economic growth depends on investing in Iowans,” said Ragan. “I support a new initiative that enables community colleges to serve Iowans who might otherwise slip through the cracks. The tuition Gap Assistance Program (GAP) will help eliminate financial barriers preventing workers from improving their skills. And community college training partnerships will continue to work with local businesses to help them become more competitive by hiring well-trained Iowa workers.”

Under the new PACE (Pathways for Academic Career and Employment) initiative, community colleges will help struggling Iowans identify their strengths, learn about local job openings and the skills needed to fill them, and put together the personal and financial resources necessary to succeed. GAP addresses the existing funding “gap” faced by some Iowans who can’t get financial aid to learn new skills needed by Iowa employers. Direct training costs, including tuition, books, fees and equipment, are eligible to be funded.

“Iowa’s shortage of skilled workers is hurting our state’s economy, especially when it comes to good wage jobs,” said Ragan. “To meet employers’ demand for skilled workers, we must ensure that Iowans don’t fall through the educational and economic cracks. Community colleges already provide certificate training. With PACE and GAP, they’ll be able to bring together all available resources to help Iowans working to improve themselves.”

Donnie Stanley, a working mom from Cedar Rapids who also spoke at the Statehouse news conference, was unemployed when she took part in the GAP pilot project at Kirkwood Community College.

“All Iowans benefit every time an Iowa family moves up the ladder of success and a local employer can hire the skilled worker they need,” said Ragan.

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