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DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday announced 22 recipients of the Employer Innovation Fund, a matching grant that helps employers provide postsecondary training and education opportunities for their employees. Two area companies are recipients.

The second round of Employer Innovation Fund Grants will distribute $568,000 to employers and employer consortiums across the state. A third round application period with $244,200 in remaining funds opened Tuesday and will close Dec. 17. Applications must be submitted through IowaGrants.gov

The purpose of the grant is to create more opportunities for working Iowans to earn non-credit and for-credit postsecondary credentials leading to high-demand jobs in the state. Employers, community leaders and others can apply by submitting a proposal for implementing a creative solution to their local workforce needs.

“Employers’ efforts to develop their own workforce through upskilling, training and education programs, are key to help Iowa meet the 2025 goal of 70 percent of Iowans having postsecondary credentials,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “The Employer Innovation Fund is unique to Iowa and will help employers leverage their existing resources with a state match to upskill even more of their workforce. It also helps community organizations work with local employers to provide training dollars that also help develop a skilled workforce. We want to award all of the $1.2 million the legislature appropriated to the fund this year so we strongly encourage employers to apply for the third round of grants.”

Area recipients are:

  • Geater Machining & Manufacturing, Independence: Funding will support the purchase of a 3D printing package for Jesup Community School District; provide additional training and certification for two teachers and 3D printing certifications from MakerBot for 30 high school students. Award total: $2,702
  • JB Holland Construction Inc., Decorah: Funds will support the purchase of a simulator, which provides training for beginner, intermediate, and advanced heavy equipment operators. The training will lead to non-credit certifications that can also transfer to a credit program should employees chose to pursue that path. JB Holland will train new employees with this model and upskill current employees in an accelerated manner. Award total: $50,000

The third round of Employer Innovation Fund applications will begin Dec. 3 and close on Dec. 17, 2019. Applications must be submitted through IowaGrants.gov.

For more information about the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, visit www.FutureReadyIowa.gov/innovation.

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