MASON CITY – At a press conference Feb. 8, officials from North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) Foundation announced today it has received a $20,458 grant from the Staples Foundation, the charitable arm of Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS). Funding from Staples will support NIACC and IowaWorks: Taking the KeyTrain to Workforce Success, a pilot program designed to tie together Adult Basic Education and Literacy skills with workforce skills to provide workers with basic education to meet the needs of North Iowa employers. To date, Staples has awarded more than $32,000 to the NIACC Foundation in support of Adult Basic Education, GED graduation initiatives and literacy education.
Grant funds will be used to offer WorkKeys, a job skills assessment system developed by the educational company ACT, to advance education and employment opportunities for unemployed and under-employed workers. This system incorporates the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) assessment program and KeyTrain learning curriculum. KeyTrain curriculum in North Iowa will be piloted and taught on the NIACC campus through the Learning Support Division of the College.
“We’re deeply grateful for support from the Staples Foundation to provide education and job skills to people within the rural communities of North Iowa,” said Dr. Debra Derr, NIACC President.
“Staples Foundation remains committed to supporting organizations like NIACC Foundation as they work hard to provide a phenomenal educational program that truly makes an impact on the lives of young people throughout North Iowa,” said Amy Shanler, director of community relations for Staples, Inc.
Though the program is new to NIACC, it has been implemented in other parts of the country. An estimated 100 participants are expected to take part in the new North Iowa program, with 70 participants testing for the new skills certificate ratings. Support from the Staples Foundation will assist with instructor and administrator training and pay and exit testing fees for students.
Individuals or companies interested in participating in the KeyTrain program can learn more by contacting NIACC Adult Literacy Coordinator Mary R. Schultz at 641-422-4176 or by visiting http://www.niacc.edu/learningsupport/workkeys.html.