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City of Cedar Rapids Launches Workforce Program Partnership with Kirkwood Community College

City of Cedar Rapids Launches Workforce Program Partnership with Kirkwood Community College

February 2, 2022

Cedar Rapids, IA - January 25, 2022 - The City of Cedar Rapids has partnered with Kirkwood Community College to develop a new workforce training and education program.

The program, called Cedar Rapids College Career Connection, provides tuition grants to support local career opportunities and advancement. Through the program, the City will provide up to $6000 annually to qualified individuals to cover student tuition and fees for Kirkwood’s academic programs. The goal is to provide students graduating from high school, or residents currently unemployed or underemployed, with the opportunity to pursue a career in an area they are passionate about, while developing the employee skills our current businesses tell us they need.

The program is designed to not compete with state funding opportunities or four-year degree programs, but to fill a specific gap identified as a community need. College Career Connection addresses local business needs for skilled workers and creates opportunities for Cedar Rapids residents to develop their education and training in order to gain the skills to advance their career and earning potential. The City has committed $500,000 of the first round of ARPA funds to support the program.

“We are extremely appreciative to have this funding available to help us address many important needs in our community,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell. “Workforce is a critical need for our community’s future, and we are very grateful for this opportunity to support our resident and business workforce needs.”

The Cedar Rapids College Career Connection grant program will help students with their tuition and books for any career/technical programs not already funded by the Governor’s Future Ready Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship program. This will be a need-based program so there is a maximum family income that will qualify, and the City will be a last payer after all other forms of funding have been used such as Pell, or other scholarships in order to further leverage City dollars. The students and families who will most benefit from this program are those who are just over the income eligibility for Pell but who still have significant financial need.

“This program will allow many students and families to avoid needing loans to fund their college education which is so important today,” said Kirkwood Community College President Dr. Lori Sundberg. “We hope we convince more students to enroll in one of our career and technical programs followed by living and working in Cedar Rapids after graduating. It’s a win for our local young people and a big win for Cedar Rapids and our businesses too.”

Cedar Rapids College Community Connection will make it easier for more individuals to realize their career and income goals, connect students with employment right here in Cedar Rapids, and provide local companies with the skilled workforce they need to succeed.
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