DES MOINES, Iowa -- Governor Kim Reynolds signed the Future Ready Iowa Act into law during the Future Ready Summit on Tuesday.
The goal of the act is to have 70% of Iowans in the workforce receive either education or training beyond high school by the year 2025. Reynolds said it will give Iowans the opportunity to learn a skill that leads to a well-paying job.
“It will help scale work-based learning so there’s additional funding for work-based learning. It will provide last dollar scholarships for individuals that want to get credentialing or up to a two-year degree in high demand jobs, so that’s an opportunity. Or if they want to go back, if they’ve got at least two years into a four-year degree and they want to finish that degree, there will be some Future Ready Iowa grants that will be available. We put $1 million of additional money into apprenticeships, which is really designed for small to medium-sized companies,” Reynolds said.
Accumold is one company in Iowa that said its work with students from DMACC and Waukee APEX is essential to the success of the company.
“In our scholarship program, while the students are going to DMACC they work at Accumold, and then when they graduate they have a full-time position. And so what’s happened is that the students bring a new sense of zeal, and the machinists who might have said, 'no, you can't do it that way,' and then the students say, 'well what about this way.' And so it is forever bringing a new sense of creative ideas to our company,” said Grace Swanson, Accumold Vice President of Human Capital.
One Waukee APEX student said his class has been working on a special project for Accumold.
“What we are eventually going to have is this robot right here will be coded and moving probably either sorting ping pong balls, sorting nuts and bolts, moving things all over the place. It’s a really cool robot and it’s super high-tech and it’s going to be a great experience for us to learn some technical skills and do something that’s going to add value to Accumold,” said Waukee APEX student Zach Walberg.
APEX student Jack Sielman said the program has really helped him explore the engineering field so he knows exactly what he wants to do when he graduates high school.
“It’s been an awesome opportunity to apply things I’ve learned not only in the APEX program but in engineering classes as well, to the real world, to real projects that we are doing with clients, and for me, for someone who is trying to be a mechanical engineer in the future, it’s been a really great opportunity."