Governor Hopes Iowa Mother’s Story Inspires Dream Chasers

AMES, Iowa  --  It was a dream twenty years in the making. Story County Boys & Girls Club Membership Coordinator Amy Boozell says for decades, her dream job today never seemed possible.

"I tried to go to school while having children. I found it was very difficult," said Amy.

With five children, her first at the age of 19, she put a college degree on hold.

"I started out on welfare as a single mom," Amy said. However, she never extinguished the flame for graduation, and in December of 2016 she earned a political science degree from Iowa State University at the age of 42.

"Walking across the stage, I couldn't believe I achieved my dream," she said.

That accomplishment was shared with current Governor Kim Reynolds, a mother of three who sat next to Amy and also received her degree on that same stage.

"Just because life got in the way didn't mean that opportunity had to be forever out of reach," said Reynolds during Tuesday's Condition of the State address.

It's that determination that inspired Governor Reynolds  to call on legislators to pass the Future Ready Iowa Act, creating a new scholarship for Iowans who wish to pursue a two-year degree in a high-demand field and grants for students who began a four-year degree but never finished.

Reynolds said, "So people like Amy know it's never too late. If this is your dream, now is the time to chase it."

Governor Reynolds says just over half of Iowa workers have training or education beyond high school.  By 2025, the governor's goal is for 70% to have the skills needed to follow Amy and Governor Reynolds' footsteps and land their dream job.

"If you've got a dream, reach out for it, go back to school, gain a skill, and do something you enjoy," Amy said.

Governor Reynolds hopes Amy's life story of perseverance can become common for Iowans. She said, "It is a big challenge, but we're going to get there and we are starting now."

Turning obstacles in Iowa into hurdles, instead of road blocks.

"Just because you have obstacles doesn't mean you have to be stuck. You can overcome them and achieve your dreams," said Amy.

Governor Reynolds also included an additional $1 million in her budget proposal to expand the state's current apprenticeship program to help small and mid-sized employers offer more opportunities. The Iowa Business Council has pledged to hire 30,000 interns, externs, and apprentices by 2025.