DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds is encouraging applications for Future Ready Iowa (FRI) Employer Innovation Fund grants that will expand opportunities for Iowans to have rewarding careers and help employers hire the skilled workers they need. Eligible applicants include employers, employer consortiums and community organizations. The application process opens on June 21. Applications will be due Aug. 1.
“Collaboration at the grassroots level is key to the success of Future Ready Iowa,” said Gov. Reynolds. “All across our state, small business owners, entrepreneurs, community and industry leaders are expanding operations and creating jobs. The employer innovation fund spurs local investment by business and industry, putting Iowans on a path toward cutting-edge careers and an even greater quality of life.”
“The Employer Innovation Fund gives participants a chance to address the barriers people face in getting upskilled in high-demand occupations,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “It empowers communities to find creative solutions and invest in Iowa’s current and future workforce.”
In May, Gov. Reynolds signed legislation that provides $1.2 million for the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund. The fund will help employers and other partners strengthen regional talent development by providing state matching dollars for local investments. The competitive grants will expand opportunities for more Iowans to earn for-credit and non-credit postsecondary credentials, including short-term certificates, leading to high-demand jobs. Possible uses of the fund include helping students with books, equipment and child care as well as other innovative approaches that help Iowans complete education or training beyond high school.
Employers, employer consortiums, community organizations and other entities can apply.
Applicants must be aligned with at least one employer.
Qualifying initiatives will be tied to outcomes related to education, training and employment in high-demand jobs.
The Future Ready Iowa goal is to have 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce with education and training beyond high school by 2025. Approximately 58 percent of Iowa’s current workforce meets this education and training criteria. The Employer Innovation Fund will award grants to support initiatives that are innovative, creative and accelerate postsecondary credential attainment for Iowans.
Potential applicants can find more information and apply for the Employer Innovation Fund at www.futurereadyiowa.gov/innovation.