Today, Governor Reynolds announced 22 recipients of the Employer Innovation Fund, a matching grant that helps employers provide postsecondary training and education opportunities for their employees. The second round of Employer Innovation Fund Grants will distribute $568,000 to employers and employer consortiums across the state.
 
Among the recipients was a consortium including Carl A. Nelson & Company which aims to to fund building trades apprenticeships in the Burlington area.
 

“Future Ready Iowa provides Iowans with life-changing opportunities while simultaneously helping employers grow their local workforce talent pipeline,” said Gov. Reynolds. The program’s Employer Innovation Fund fuels grassroots innovation, empowering Iowa businesses and communities to create solutions that help Iowans find a good-paying job in a high-demand career. We are excited about this program’s initial success and see even greater opportunities in the future.”  

The purpose of the grant is to create more opportunities for working Iowans to earn non-credit and for-credit postsecondary credentials leading to high-demand jobs in the state. Employers, community leaders and others can apply by submitting a proposal for implementing a creative solution to their local workforce needs.

“Employers' efforts to develop their own workforce through upskilling, training and education programs, are key to help Iowa meet the 2025 goal of 70 percent of Iowans having postsecondary credentials,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “The Employer Innovation Fund is unique to Iowa and will help employers leverage their existing resources with a state match to upskill even more of their workforce.  It also helps community organizations work with local employers to provide training dollars that also help develop a skilled workforce. We want to award all of the $1.2 million the legislature appropriated to the fund this year so we strongly encourage employers to apply for the third round of grants."    

Carl A. Nelson & Company, along with local partners Brockway Mechanical & Roofing Co, the Burlington Community School District and Southeastern Community College in West Burlington received an award of $18,250 to create a construction Quality Pre-Apprenticeship program for high school students. Students will earn college credit, a Building Construction Certificate and an OSHA 10 General Construction credential.

"We are excited by the opportunity to be involved and believe this will be a great asset to both kids looking for a career path, and to businesses looking to hire new employees interested in the trades," Carl A. Nelson & Company General Superintendent Mike Harris said in a November letter signing on to the grant application. "We work closely with several local high schools and SCC, and fully believe there is a chance to improve the workforce shortage by recruiting right out of high school.

"We have already had some success at this, and are excited to see where it can go."

Harris said Carl A. Nelson & Company also would commit to hiring a number of the program's graduates who express interest in working for a general contractor and are able to meet other pre-employment criteria.

The award was part of $568,475 announced in the second round of Employer Innovation Fund grants presented through Future Ready Iowa. The first-round awards totaled $387,425. A third-round application period with $244,200 in remaining funds opened Dec. 3 and will close Dec. 17.

For more information about the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, visit www.FutureReadyIowa.gov/innovation.

Carl A. Nelson & Company was founded in 1913 in Burlington, Iowa. The employee-owned company provides design-build, construction management and general contracting services in the southeast Iowa and west-central Illinois area, across the United States and in Canada. The company has offices in Burlington, Cedar Falls and Washington, Iowa.