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Promise Jobs transition in the works

The Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) Board of Directors learned this month that Iowa Workforce Development is transitioning from smaller territories to larger districts, and that a contract has been awarded to Hawkeye Community College to provide services in what has been Iowa Valley’s service area.

Jennifer Fuchs, IVCCD Director of WIOA Title 1, said that IVCCD has served Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama Counties since the inception of Promise Jobs, and that four years ago IVCCD unexpectedly picked up shared services to five additional counties. In March 2016 the state decided to expand and combine territories, creating a 24-county area that encompasses the majority of IVCCD’s current territory; a Request for Proposals was issued, and the contract was awarded to Hawkeye Community College.

The IVCCD Board approved “with deep regret” an amendment to its Promise Jobs Central Territory Agreement with Iowa Workforce Development, extending its contract until Sept. 30 for close-out purposes.

“Much remains to be seen in terms of how this will impact staff and clients,” Fuchs told the Board. “Our team had a caseload of 200 clients, covering a nine-county area. We’ve had outstanding metrics and results from our work. Fuchs said it’s likely that services and programs will be reduced to some degree in Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama Counties following the transition.

On a happier note, the IVCCD Board approved a National Dislocated Worker Grant Agreement with Iowa Workforce Development. The $159,609 grant will be used for regional planning activities, career services for dislocated workers, and work-based training models for those in Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama Counties.

“When there’s a business closing or layoffs, we provide services to those dislocated workers,” Fuchs explained. “We work with those employers on-site and meet with the affected employees to help them make that career change. Services may include workshops, resume help, on-the-job training experiences, and more.” Fuchs said her staff provides services to an average of about 2,000 dislocated workers per year, so the new grant will help them do even more to focus on career pathways in support of the local workforce.

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