A relatively new program at Central Campus that developed in response to urgent needs in local and national job markets is getting a big boost from Prairie Meadows.

The CC Skilled Trades Academy has been awarded a $150,000 Community Betterment Grant that will help fund a facilities renovation project at the school.

Central Iowa continues to battle a critical shortage of skilled workers in building trades that’s predicted to worsen over time. The number of tradespeople retiring far exceeds the number of new workers entering the industry, and K-12 students often lack exposure to the trades as a career path.

In 2016, a group of industry professionals formed the Skilled Trades Alliance in partnership with DMPS. Together, they established the Skilled Trades Academy at Central Campus, a regional hub positioned to serve students from across central Iowa.

“Central Campus’s Skilled Trades Academy is an excellent example of how business and schools partnerships lead to higher quality learning experiences for students,” said CC Director Tascha Brown.  “We are currently working with local employers to create pathways that lead our students to paid apprenticeship opportunities as soon as they complete their Central Campus coursework. We offer a paid registered apprenticeship with Hubbell Homes to students before they graduate high school with the hope of adding additional apprenticeships in the future. This new space will help expand this growing program.”

The Prairie Meadows grant will go toward the conversion of unused space at Central Campus into two classrooms and two lab spaces for skilled trade students, providing innovative educational opportunities co-taught by DMPS staff and industry partners and designed to meet workforce demand in Iowa.

With the grant funds from Prairie Meadows, the Alliance and DMPS have now raised more than $600,000 of the total project cost of $770,000.

Currently, an additional $75,000 is pending in grant applications that, if secured, will enable completion of Phase 2 of the project.

  • Phase 1: A general skilled trades lab (completed in 2018).
  • Phase 2: Two additional classroom spaces and a plumbing/HVAC lab.
  • Phase 3: Buildout of an electrical lab.

A solid foundation is laid and now the framework is in place, too.

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