A program that will help create over 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers in Iowa is distributing grants to 134 school districts, including two in the Quad City area. The Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program will disburse over $45 million to provide opportunities for current high school students and adults to earn paraeducator certificates and associates degrees and paraeducators to earn bachelor’s degrees while learning and working in classrooms. The program will begin this fall during the 2022-2023 school year. Over 100 recipient districts are creating the first-ever registered apprenticeship programs in their schools.

“The overwhelming response we received for this grant opportunity has been truly remarkable and is evident of the great interest and passion that lies within our students and paraeducators to jumpstart their careers in education,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said. “Through valuable partnerships, this program makes post-secondary educational opportunities available at the fingertips of high school students before graduating high school. And we’re not done yet–this pilot program is just the beginning of what we hope will expand across the state.” 

The Burlington school district will receive $485,792 from the program. Davenport and its partner school districts (Clinton, Bettendorf, Muscatine, North Scott, Pleasant Valley and West Liberty) will receive $3,700,848. Funding is made available through the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Growing our teacher and paraeducator talent pipeline helps ensure Iowa students have access to a world-class education today and into the future,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “I commend these school districts and postsecondary partners for their innovative plans to start registered apprenticeships that will inspire and support the next generation of educators in Iowa communities.”  

“This unique grant will expand and create more opportunities for Iowans who might not otherwise believe a career in education is possible,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Registered Apprenticeships have long been a crucial tool in developing our workforce. It is incredibly exciting to see this model embraced by educators to create a pipeline for teachers and paraeducators and demonstrates that apprenticeships can be created for almost any occupation in any industry.” 

To learn more about the Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program, click here.