Reynolds Tours Cunninghams And Talks Job Skills

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds listens to apprentices talk about their experiences in their apprenticeship program.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was in Oskaloosa on Friday, and she was touring Cunninghams and learning about the company’s apprenticeship program.

Reynolds administration has embraced apprenticeship programs around the state to help young Iowans find their way into the workforce, and for employers to find the much-needed staff to fill open positions.

After the tour, Reynolds sat down with individuals who are in various stages of the apprenticeship program. Some are just starting, while others are nearing the end, and will become journeymen soon. Others come to the program with a variety of educational backgrounds.

Oskaloosa News spoke with the governor about her program, and if progress was being made.

“We still have a long way to go. I still hear it as I talk to businesses and business leaders and job creators across the state,” said Reynolds. “We’re really starting to see some great things and momentum building.”

Involving the education system was vital in the apprenticeship program. Reynolds explained that the program started with one school, and there are currently 14 schools involved one year later.

Reynolds said that an additional 30 schools are in the process of joining the program. “[It would] be great to announce it [at] the condition of the state that I have at least 50 schools that are looking at it.”

Reynolds went on to say, “I think the more that we make them aware and we show them how easy it is, and you have other school districts that are doing it. They [school districts] talk, they’re very collaborative, and so I think we’re going to continue to see those numbers increase.”

Reynolds hopes the Iowa Legislature will continue and potentially expand on the Future Ready Iowa initiative and also build upon STEM, “which goes a lot towards work-based learning.”

Reynolds hopes to help make more kids aware, as well as adults, who haven’t completed high school about the opportunities with Future Ready Iowa.

Reynolds explained that career academies are also helping to get individuals out into the workforces, with credits from such academies going towards college credit. Students are learning skills and getting college credit to help advance in their career down the road.

Iowa sits at a 2.5% unemployment rate, third lowest in the nation, which makes filling job positions difficult for employers across the state.

Reynolds acknowledges that such unemployment also creates challenges. Reynolds said her administration is working on recruitment from outside Iowa. Other initiatives are to help incarcerated individuals gain skills for when they integrate back into society and to help the disabled community as well gain those needed skills.

“We’re working on it from every aspect. We’re coming at this, and that’s a win for Iowans because these are careers and great opportunities, and we just need to help get them there,” Reynolds said in closing.

Posted by on Oct 21 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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