Gov. Reynolds Awards $13.5 Million To Expand Health Careers Through Apprenticeships

DES MOINES, IOWA – Governor Kim Reynolds today awarded $13.5 million in funding for apprenticeship programs to help expand health careers across Iowa. Iowa’s Health Careers Registered Apprenticeship (RA) Program, first introduced last year, has grown this year to support programs in even more high-demand occupations in health care.

The $13.5 million in new funding will award 21 RA programs, which are estimated to support a total of 1,463 apprentices. Awardees include hospitals, community colleges, school districts, and assisted living facilities, reflecting the strong need for support in a diverse number of health occupations.

“I’m excited to announce today’s awards and the meaningful step this represents toward growing our high-demand health care workforce,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This funding is not just about supporting programs today, it’s about paving the way for new health careers across Iowa in the decades to come.”

Programs will support the development of Nursing, Emergency Medical Responders, Behavioral Health & Substance Abuse Specialists, and other critical areas. Awardees are required to provide an industry-recognized credential that can also be stackable and used by apprentices to advance a career in health care.

Iowa Valley was awarded $451,878 to serve an estimated 50 healthcare apprentices. From the nomination: IVCCD, local healthcare organizations, and area high schools are partnering to create an initiative to successfully recruit local talent in rural Iowa. This grow-your-own strategy creates local awareness that sustainable careers do exist in rural Iowa and that employers are willing to invest in participants through paid learning opportunities. This project targets high school students, non-traditional students, and existing employees within healthcare organizations for paid opportunities to learn on-the-job while attaining credentials. This partnership establishes three apprenticeship opportunities for 50 apprentices advancing them along a healthcare career pathway toward a sustainable future.

“The strength of our health care workforce impacts many areas of our economy, not just in the metro areas but in more rural communities across the state,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Routing new opportunity through Registered Apprenticeships, which include on-the-job and classroom experience, is a proven way to encourage long-term careers where we need them the most.”

Recent job openings data highlighted the continued need for health careers, as four out of the top six openings came from the healthcare sector (including Nursing Assistants, Physicians, Licensed Practical, and Licensed Vocational Nurses).

Today’s awards follow $2.45 million in Health Care Registered Apprenticeship grants that were awarded in June 2022. Those grants supported 22 school districts and helped fund 450 new apprentices.