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Gov. Reynolds press conference features Toledo native Kaylee Howe’s success story

April 26, 2018
From: Robin Anctil - Director of Marketing - Iowa Valley Community College District , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

During the Monday, April 16, weekly press conference of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds it was announced that Iowa's GAP Tuition Assistance Program has been recognized as a national model by the National Skills Coalition. To shine a brighter light on the impact of the GAP program, Gov. Reynolds called on Marshalltown Community College student Kaylee Howe, who traveled to Des Moines to tell reporters that the GAP program made all the difference for her.

"Next month, I will be graduating from the Practical Nursing program at Marshalltown Community College," said Howe, a native of Toledo. "I will return to MCC in August to enroll in the Associate Degree Nursing program. Without Iowa's GAP Tuition Assistance Program, this probably wouldn't be happening."

Howe explained that in order to enroll in MCC's nursing program, she needed to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, a short-term career training program offered by Iowa Valley Continuing Education. "GAP Tuition Assistance aided me and covered the cost of the class and additional class materials, including a watch, uniform, books, and test fees. All of this helped me be successful and advance to the LPN program."

Article Photos

April 16 press conference participants Lt. Gov. Gregg, Megan Thiessen, Gov. Reynolds, Kaylee Howe, Dr. Chris Duree, and Andy Van Kleunen. Thiessen, the Administrator of Sunny Hill Care Center, Tama, commented, “It was an honor to speak at Gov. Reynold’s press conference at the State Capitol regarding the need to increase funding for Pell grants which help people receive degrees, such as a Certified Nurse’s Aide. We are proud to have two employees represent Sunny Hill Care Center.” -Photo provided

She added that the GAP assistance in earning her CNA certificate led to her employment with Sunny Hill Care Center in Tama. "I am learning from our outstanding nursing staff, gaining experience while working with our residents, and building my resume for the future. I also want to be in a position where I know that I can support myself financially. I am an independent student, and having my CNA certificate has played an important part in supporting myself. Each step of the way I am reaching all of my goals to learn, help others, and be able to provide for myself and a family down the road.

"I am very proud to be a Nursing student at Marshalltown Community College," says Howe. "Our LPN program was recently recognized as the #1 LPN program in Iowa. I also feel very blessed to have had so many people supporting me as a student and future nurse. GAP funding helped me get started, and I am motivated to go as far as I can go in my career. And to anyone who may be wondering I want to stay in Iowa."

Other press conference participants included Lt. Governor Gregg, IVCCD Chancellor Chris Duree, Administrator of Sunny Hill Care Center Megan Thiessen, and National Skills Coalition CEO Andy Van Kleunen.

Gov. Reynolds highlighted the importance of short-term career training programs and the need for Congress to consider making changes to the federal Pell Grant Program to allow students enrolled in short-term (15-week) programs to be eligible for these funds. She and the others spoke about the need to support both students and businesses by enrolling Iowans in more high-quality, industry-recognized short-term certificate programs that connect skilled, trained workers with Iowa employers who want to hire them.

In addition to the short-term CNA training program, Iowa Valley Continuing Education offers short-term training for Emergency Medical Services, Medication Aide, Phlebotomy, Pharmacy Technician, Welding, Industrial Maintenance, Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and more.

Although short-term training programs are typically designed in response to industry needs to lead directly to in-demand jobs, students are not always eligible for them if they don't meet Pell's requirements on program length. Pell grants require programs to be 600 clock hours over 15 weeks, but many credit and no-credit programs don't meet that requirement.

"Changing how the Pell grant can be used is another way we can help 127,700 Iowans earn postsecondary credentials in order to meet our Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of our workforce having education or training beyond high school by 2025," Gov. Reynolds said. "A change in policy could open doors for even more people and accelerate Iowa's efforts."



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