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Senator Ragan: Training and apprenticeships lead to good jobs

The following is a submitted column from Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City:

Senator Amanda Ragan
We must do more to expand apprenticeships and vocational-technical training that put Iowans on the path to a good job.

That’s a key part of a plan I support to Put Iowans First. We all win when employers have the workers they need to be successful; Iowans are enjoying rewarding, good-paying careers; and our economy is thriving.

This year, the Legislature officially set a goal for 70 percent of Iowa workers to get training beyond high school by 2025 (HF 2458).

Registered apprenticeships are expected to play a big role in achieving that goal.

Apprenticeships allow workers to earn a living while training for jobs in thousands of occupations, such areas as energy, information technology, health care, manufacturing, construction and more. Iowa recently added apprenticeship programs in beekeeping and child care development.

Over the last two years, Iowa has received federal grants to expand apprenticeship opportunities, particularly in health care and advanced manufacturing, the fastest-growing sectors in the state. The grant money is now being distributed to organizations that offer—or want to start—apprentice programs.

Through July 27, Iowa Workforce Development is accepting proposals for funding for:
· Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Organizations may apply for $10,000 awards to help Iowans get started on a career path.

· High School Registered Apprenticeship Programs: $15,000 awards go toward training instruction, support services and an apprenticeship coordinator.

· Health Care and Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Programs: Financial awards help cover training instruction, support services, stipends to apprentices or sponsors, an apprenticeship coordinator and travel.

· Pilot Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Program: Assistance will focus on setting more women, youth, minorities, veterans and people with disabilities on the path to successful apprenticeships and careers.

To learn more about Iowa’s apprenticeship opportunities, go to The site offers helpful information to employers interested in setting up an apprentice program and to job seekers exploring careers.

Skilled worker initiatives are critical to Iowa’s job creation and economic growth. Federal grants for apprenticeship programs will be put to good use, but the Legislature must do its part as well by making funding for education and worker training a higher priority.

Read more about other key elements of the Putting Iowans First plan at

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