We certainly needed that good soaking rain! I guess we all knew it was coming after the hot humid beginning of the week. Now I am hoping the rain will be followed by some beautiful sunny weather for this weekend. There is much going on in North Iowa! I hope to see you at some of those events!
I am especially excited to be one of the participants in the Habitat for Humanity Women Build Day on Saturday… come to Habitat headquarters and watch Senator Ragan and I swing a hammer! Below is a list of all the events that I am aware of in North Iowa this weekend. Enjoy, and be sure to contact me with any questions or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you!
Have a great weekend!
Friday, June 22nd
*Music at the MC Public Library, Michael Betz, from 11-2, free of charge
*MCHS Summer Musical, “Into the Woods” 7:30pm, at NIACC
Saturday, June 23rd
*Mason City Market, 8-12pm in Central Park (no construction!!!)
*Women Build, Habitat for Humanity…all day
*Greek Festival, 11am-10pm at the Greek Orthodox Church
*Herb Fest Garden and Craft Show for Humane Society of North Iowa at the Healing House in Clear Lake, 10am-5pm
*Scottish Highland Games, North Iowa Fair Grounds, 9am-3:30pm
*MCHS Summer Musical, “Into the Woods”, 7:30pm at NIACC
Sunday, June 24th
*Mason City Municipal Band, 7:30pm at the East Park Band Shell
(PHOTO: Director Jennifer Kammeyer accepted my gently used athletic shoes at United Way Headquarters this week.)
The shoes will be given away at the United Way Back to School Kick-off in August. Shoes can be dropped off any time at the United Way office, 600 1st Street NW, or one of the 38 drop off spots in the 9 county region. Call United Way at 423-1774 for more information on locations. Last year over 700 pairs of shoes were given away in Mason City alone!
Job Training Services Available
With reports showing Iowa has a skilled worker shortage, the state is boosting job training efforts for Iowans who are unemployed, underemployed, or looking for a new career. Using community colleges and workforce centers across Iowa, more assistance is available for high school graduates and adult Iowans to get the training needed to land a good-paying job.
Iowa Workforce Development Field Offices offer assistance in resume building, skills assessment tests, and technical computer assistance. Workforce Development Field Offices also offer Career choices assessments, which assess your skills and interests which then helps in your job search. There are 20 workforce offices across Iowa where Iowans can receive personal assistance. Log on to www.iowaworkforce.org/centers/files/offices.htm to find an office near you.
Iowans looking to upgrade their skills can also visit their local community college for assistance.
A new Skilled Worker Shortage Grants program was launched this year to assist Iowans who attend a vocational-technical program either full-time or part-time. The goal is to identify Iowa’s shortage areas and then use grants to encourage more Iowans to upgrade their skills to fill the job openings in those key shortage areas.
Last year, the Legislature created the GAP Tuition Assistance program to provide assistance to need-based eligible applicants enrolled in short term certificate programs like information technology, health care, advanced manufacturing, and transportation. With new funding approved this year, community colleges are now taking applications for GAP Tuition Assistance.
Community colleges are also partnering with local businesses to train Iowans for new jobs available in their community. First, the Accelerated Career Education Program (ACE) helps establish new or expand current community college programs that train individuals for positions most needed by Iowa businesses. The Iowa New Jobs Training Program allows businesses to design specialized worker training programs at the community college that will supply them with workforce skilled to meet their needs.
To find a community college near you, go to http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=241&catid=183&Itemid=1433.
Building a Highly Skilled Workforce
In an effort to build a highly skilled workforce ready for today’s rapidly changing economy, the Legislature worked together this year to improve education from preschool to higher education.
Knowing early childhood education is key to helping students be successful later in life, the Legislature continued the statewide preschool initiative this year. It also established the Iowa Reading Research Center to make reading interventions available beginning in kindergarten as soon as a deficiency is detected.
The Legislature made several other improvements to education this year. A new focus on competency based education allows students to learn at their own pace and then move on once they have mastered specific concepts and skills. More collaboration among teachers will give teachers more feedback from their peers, and the standards for teacher preparation programs are raised from 12 weeks to 14 weeks.
In addition to greater opportunities for online learning, more students will be graduating from high school with the skills they need as Iowa continues to raise standards for students through the Iowa Core Curriculum.
Finally, new state investment in community colleges and state universities will help keep tuition affordable for middle class families.