November 2021
Career Pathways Corner
Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Iowa grew at record pace in 2020-21

National Apprenticeship Week took place November 15-21, celebrating the “earn-to-learn” career pathway that has helped tens of thousands of Iowans find exciting new careers. In 2020-21, Iowa added 181 new Registered Apprenticeship programs, 51 new occupations, and 4,350 new apprentices according to the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship.

Educators, program providers, and employers unite to support the next generation in finding and succeeding in careers with great wages, unique skills, and a lifetime of opportunities. Director of Iowa Workforce Development Beth Townsend recognized and reviewed student training programs in a recent Des Moines Register article.

Applications for the next round of training grants through the Iowa Apprenticeship Act (15B) and the Iowa Registered Apprenticeship Development Fund (15C) will be available on January 1, 2022. Learn more and apply at With questions, contact Kris Byam at
Afterschool Alliance News
Complete a survey to help spotlight Afterschool in Iowa

The Afterschool Alliance is asking out-of-school time leaders across the country to complete a survey to better understand how the pandemic has and continues to affect programs. With strong participation from Iowa, our state can receive a profile to spotlight our work and needs. You also have a chance to win a $50 cash prize! The survey will close on December 12, 2022. Take the survey here!
How Out-of-School Time Programs Can Support Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccines For Those Ages 5-11

Following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children 5 years and older get the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine. Out-of-school time program providers can be an encouraging source for families to receive information related to vaccination recommendations. Ways you can share include:

  • - Raising awareness among families about the new CDC vaccine recommendation for those ages 5 and older
  • - Identifying vaccine sites in their communities through state and local public health departments or through the website
  • - Educating program staff about the importance of vaccination for both adults and children
  • - Sharing information about vaccine safety with families and staff members

For more COVID-19 related information, visit the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment Resource Library here.
Inclusion Spotlight
Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist reunited with the educator who inspired her, launches out-of-school literacy program
A community conversation was hosted last week in Waterloo with 700 people in attendance, discussing the role and effect engaging education practices can have for students' long-term success. Featured on-stage were Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and Waterloo West High School alumnus Nikole Hannah-Jones and a former Waterloo Community Schools’ educator Rev. Ray Dial, whom she credits for her initial interest in history and writing. Joining them was Director of School and Community Relations Akwi Nji.

Hannah-Jones is also working to make an impact in her hometown through an after-school literacy program launched this fall. The 1619 Freedom School began serving fourth- and fifth-graders at Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence, a low-income Waterloo Schools’ elementary that is its most segregated building. The full program, serving about 30 academically struggling low-income students from across the district, opens in January at the downtown Masonic Temple building.

Read more about the conversation, program, and obstacles through The Courier article here.
Grant Opportunities
New Grant Program for 4-6th Graders Provided By Hillshire Farms
To help ignite and bring kids’ awesome ideas to life, Hillshire Farm SNACKED! brand is introducing the Allowance Grants. Nominate a kid and work with them to fill out an application for an Allowance Grant. Thirty-eight (38) $500 grants and three (3) $2,000 grants will be awarded to 4th-6th graders across the United States with the best ideas to create the change they want to see. In addition, parents and caregivers of the selected grant recipients will receive Hillshire Farm SNACKED! products for a year (estimated value $156) to share with their family and friends to help fuel their journeys. The final application deadline is January 2, 2022.

Learn more and apply at With questions, contact Katie Reusch at
STEM Best HD Grant from the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council
The STEM BEST® HD (High Demand) Program is designed to prepare students for the workforce by providing awards of up to $40,000 to schools to develop curriculum in job sectors of computer science/information technology, health professions, and advanced manufacturing. Funds can be used for facility upgrades, purchasing industry-grade equipment, acquiring additional space, time for program planning with partners, travel needs, and integrating curriculum into existing courses. Applications are open now and close on January 3, 2022.

Learn more and apply at With questions, contact Tanya Hunt at
Student-Led STEM Opportunites
Lunabotics Junior Student Contest
NASA and Future Engineers are challenging young innovators to help design a new robot concept for an excavation mission on the Moon. The Lunabotics Junior Contest is open to K-12 students in U.S. public and private schools, as well as homeschoolers. Entry deadline is January 25, 2021. Learn more about the contest here!
NASA and LEGO Education Build to Launch
NASA and the Artemis I team are collaborating with LEGO® Education to bring students and teachers an out-of-this-world STEAM learning series. Build to Launch is an exploration of the technology, STEAM concepts and careers behind the Artemis I mission to the Moon. You can engage by watching the first Mission Briefing here
Professional Development Opportunities
2022 Beyond School Hours Conference
Foundations, Inc. is hosting their annual Beyond School Hours conference this upcoming February in Orlando, Florida.

Foundations, Inc.’s mission is improving the quality of education for our nation’s children by strengthening the skills of educators. We know the Beyond School Hours conference is a great way for all professionals, no matter the role or workload to come and invest in their professional learning through hands on, engaging workshops, networking events and strategies that will benefit and develop their skill sets! Did we mention free swag, cocktail hours and enjoying special magic Disney discounts?

Check out and attend this February 23-26! For additional information, please contact
Out of School Time Professional Development Center
The Out of School Time Professional Development Center provides Out of School Time training to OST professionals. The classes provide in-depth curriculum and certificates. If you or your staff are interested in signing up for courses visit the Out-of-School Time website. Check out the entire course catalog here. 
Great Content on Y4Y!
You 4 Youth is a free online professional development site that is designed to support 21CCLC program staff but is a valuable tool for any afterschool professional looking to build their skills! Recently, Y4Y has rolled out a whole module on literacy. Click here to register.
Afterschool Alliance Webinars
The Afterschool Alliance offers webinars on a wide range of topics, from policy and the new Every Student Succeeds Act, to STEM and Social-Emotional Learning. Find out more on their webinars website
Iowa Child Care Training Registry
Find professional development for school-age programming on the State of Iowa Child Care Training Registry on topics ranging from health and safety to developmentally appropriate programming. Find out more online.
National AfterSchool Association PD Resources
NAA provides afterschool professionals with resources to stay up-to-date on the latest topics in afterschool and summer learning. Find out more on their website here
Resources for STEM Programming
The Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) provides background information that is useful for the development of STEM programming. Find out more on their website.
The Afterschool Tech Toolkit aims to empower afterschool professionals and educators with strategies and training so they can provide students with access to technology outside of classroom hours. It includes training modules on getting started, training staff, accessing technology, and devices, and more. Take a look at the toolkit here.