The Iowa Association of Community College Trustees has received a nearly $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The grant will fund an IACCT initiative called "Iowa - Advanced Manufacturing: A Talent Success Strategy for the 21st Century Workforce."
Iowa Central Community College will receive about $700,000 when the funds are rolled out on Oct. 2, according to Dan Kinney, Iowa Central president.
"It's going to affect us quite a bit," he said.
For the second cycle of federal grants, the state's community colleges worked together to write a single grant encompassing all of Iowa, Kinney said.
"The first time around, we wrote a couple of them with other institutions. Everybody kind of wrote their own. Only one of those was funded in the state of Iowa," he said. "This time around, we decided to write a grant together to get funded to help all our region."
In preparing the grant, the consortium of all 15 state community colleges looked at the state labor force to see "what we can do to strengthen the state of Iowa," Kinney said.
"We're looking at who needs what in different regions and coming together. The ultimate goal is building a work force for Iowa," he said. "The governor had the challenge of adding 200,000 jobs and I think the majority of those will come out of the community college system."
The boost in manufacturing, both statewide and locally, emphasizes the need for greater work force training, Kinney said.
"Look at what's happening in our area with the needs of the new manufacturers that are coming to town," he said. "Not only those, but to our current existing manufacturers that are out there."
While the grant had requested $15 million, IACCT was awarded $12,951.65. Des Moines Area Community College, because of its centralized location, will act as the grant holder, Kinney said.
Kinney expects Iowa Central will receive between $600,000 and $700,000 of the grant funds, though exact figures are not yet available.
"We've got to adjust our budget numbers right now," he said. "We'll be closer to $700,000 when it's all said and done. We didn't get funded the full amount that we asked for. We're short about $2.5 million. We know we'll have to adjust ours."
Iowa Central will focus its efforts on two areas, Kinney said: advanced manufacturing and welding.
"Welding is an area that, when we originally wrote this grant, we were short a lot of welders in our region," he said.
The funds will be distributed over four years, Kinney said.
"The first year we'll be getting geared. The second and third year will be a lot of training, adding a lot of different course work, and year four will be our wrap-up," he said. "It's only a six-month period."
The federal grant represents a great opportunity for Iowa Central, Kinney said.
"This will allow us the opportunity to add some staff, to work with local businesses to build their work force, and also allow us some opportunities to purchase some higher-dollar equipment to conduct training for the region," he said.
He added, "We're excited. This is really going to help. This comes at a great time for us here at Iowa Central with what we're starting to do with all the industries in our area."