Legislators take four-day, eight-stop tour of Iowa’s tech schools & training academies

DES MOINES — A tour of some of Iowa’s top technical schools and academies is scheduled this week for a group of key state lawmakers and officials with the Association for Career and Technical Education, or ACTE.

Jarrod Nagurka, the public affairs manager for ACTE, says eight stops are planned. “There’s a huge need for these career and technical education programs,” Nagurka says. “We see all sorts of business and industry sectors that span across the economy recognizing there is a skills gap between the jobs and careers they have available and the skilled labor they need in order to fill those jobs.”

Nearly 100-thousand Iowa high school students are enrolled in some form of career and technical education program, along with another 11-thousand students at the post-secondary level. Nagurka says the demand for skilled labor is growing — and so is the interest among students.  “Career and technical education, both at the high school level and at the post-secondary level from community colleges and other training programs, are really helping fuel that talent pipeline to make sure that business and industry have the workers they need to meet their demands,” he says.

Nagurka says students who pursue career and technical education training programs will reap a host of benefits.  “Students who take CTE programs are more engaged, they have higher graduation rates, lower risks of dropping out,” Nagurka says, “and for students who take two to three technical education credits, 91% of them enroll in some sort of college experience.”

Higher earnings are another plus, he says, as students who earn a credential that’s even less than a two-year associate’s degree will often out-earn the average bachelor’s degree recipient.

The delegation will tour the Sioux City Career Academy and Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City on Monday, MMCRU High School in Marcus and the North Central Career Academy in Eagle Grove on Tuesday, the Western Outreach Center in Holland and the Waterloo Career Center on Wednesday, and Linn-Mar High School in Marion and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Thursday.

Learn more at www.acteonline.org