DMACC Program Encourages People to Get Back Into Workforce

DES MOINES, Iowa – A program at Des Moines Area Community College is supporting people looking for a career change, are unemployed, or are at or below the poverty level.

DMACC’s Workforce Training Academy is a tuition-assistance program for short-term certificates.

Workforce Training Academy Employment Specialist Kay Maher said, “Our training programs generally last anywhere from a semester or less. They are very fast pace programs, but the goal is that a person is able to get right out there and find employment.”

The program is funded by the state of Iowa through GAP and PACE funds. The funds provide students support with tuition, course supplies and personal expenses to help a student succeed.

Student John Hashman is earning his sterile processing certificate and said, “I commute from Ames, so they will provide me with helping out on gas and everything. Including paying for the program for me.”

Student Savannah Cook said she lost her previous job due to a work injury and found this program on DMACC’s campus. “It’s definitely helped me and changed my life tremendously. It gives me a future and it's free. You don’t get a lot of opportunities like that.”

Maher said people can get a training certificate in the advanced manufacturing, business, healthcare, hospitality, skilled trades and transportation industry.

“Depending again on what the need is in our community, we have an opportunity to create new training programs based on employer need,” Maher said.

Ten students in the program, including Hashman, are in the process of earning their sterile processing certificate.

Sterile Processing Instructor Joyce Ortega said, “People have surgery every day and nobody thinks about who is in charge of getting my instruments ready.”

There are 400 students in the workforce program, and Maher said “About 72 percent find new employment upon the training programs.”

According to DMACC, from 2014-2016, 293 of its Workforce Training Academy students were on food stamps at intake. After completing the program 57 percent of those students no longer are on food stamps.

Click here to learn how to apply.