ICR Future is a coalition of schools, organizations, and employers working together to
develop the future workforce in Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR).
June 22, 2018
School is out for the summer, however the collaboration between educators, industry experts, education partners and students is in full swing. The Career Connected Learning Coalition met in May and committed to the area of work they are most interested in advancing in our region. Six topic areas and working groups were formed to meet over the summer and determine metrics and goals for our region in the areas of: Computer Science, Project Based Learning, Soft Skills, Career Exploration, Work- Based Learning and Pathways Curriculum Mapping.

This exciting work will help support our school districts in their efforts to prepare students for 21st Century jobs and the critical careers in our region. Developing our talent pipeline, not only helps address our workforce shortage, but it helps students identify their interests and strengths so they can explore and experience careers to determine a fulfilling career path forward.

As the State of Iowa unveils new computer science standards, it will become important for school districts to ensure comprehensive exposure to coding to all students and increase the number of girls choosing computer science and STEM careers overall. In the TED talk below, education activist Reshma Saujani (the founder of Girls Who Code) shares her perspective that at a young age we teach our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave, which decreases girls' interest in the computer science field. This particular theory really struck me and made me consider our expectations for our daughter in comparison to our sons. How do we ensure that we are sending the right message and supporting all students in pursuit of their interests? Is there a role for all of us to play?

In an effort to make career exploration in our region easy and accessible, the ICR Future coalition will also be developing an online hub designed to help parents and students, educators, and employers understand career pathways and how to connect and support career-connected learning. We plan to launch the new website, www.icrfuture.org, this fall.

If you are interested in joining ICR Future or would like more details, please contact me at Kmoreland@icriowa.org .


Kate Moreland
Director of Career Development

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”   WB Yeats
Reshma Saujani (the founder of Girls Who Code) shares her perspective that at a young age we teach our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave.
ICR Future Coalition Confirms Key Goals.

The new ICR Future  coalition spent the past few months confirming goals and areas of focus for the work ahead. Two core goals will guide strategies including encouraging more students to consider career pathways in high-demand in our region and supporting curriculum that develops work-ready skills. Coalition members selected areas of focus within those goals including career exploration, work-based learning, pathways curriculum, computer science, soft skills, and project-based learning. These teams will confirm metrics over the summer and begin working collectively to develop initiatives that support their goals.

If you are interested in joining the ICR Future coalition or would like more information, please contact Kate Moreland at  Kmoreland@icriowa.org .

Businesses Needed for Fall 2018 Johnson County STEM Festival

On Wednesday, October 10 th  from 4:00 – 7:00, the Southeast Iowa STEM Hub, Iowa City Community School District, Kirkwood Community College, and ICR IOWA will be hosting the Johnson County STEM Festival at the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa. This event will be a great opportunity to ignite student interest in science, technology, engineering and math and help connect youth and their parents to great opportunities in the corridor. 

Although the event seems far off, I hope you will considering registering to have an engaging hands-on booth for about 1,000 K-12 students and their parents. To register your booth, please complete the following form .  
NewBoCo Offering Computer Science and Professional Development

NewBoCo has been working with Code.org and Iowa’s veteran K-5 facilitators to add the Computer Science Fundamentals workshops to our K-12 professional development offerings. We are excited to announce that NewBoCo will now be offering professional learning opportunities for all of K-12!

If you are interested in integrating computer science content in elementary grades, without needing a time turner to fit more activities into your day, check out workshops available in Iowa  here , or contact samantha@newbo.co  to schedule a workshop near you! These workshops are available at no-cost to classroom teachers. Additional opportunities for coding education K-12 students can be found here .
Students Design and Build Tiny Home

For the second time, the Architecture, Construction & Engineering Career Academy at Kirkwood Community College has produced a tiny house. According to organizers, “tiny” stands for Trades Investing Nurturing Youth. This program, led by Allen Witt provided was a great collaboration between industry and education and provided students real world experience. Learn more here.
Keystone-Elberon Tour of Iowa Aims to Connect Students with a Local Future

This summer, the Keystone-Elberon Summer Rec Board in Benton County will launch the third year of their Tour of Iowa, a program developed to boost participation in summer ball programs and keep local children connected to a future in Iowa. The program is a bit of a throwback from yesteryear, based on a program held in local schools over forty years ago.

"My aunt was home for Christmas and shared that all third graders in the local schools used to go on a Tour of Iowa forty years ago," said Anna Upah, a resident of Keystone and a member of the Keystone-Elberon Summer Rec Board. "I recognized that the tour had made a significant impact on her and that the experience of seeing other places in the state could help our kids see opportunities right here in the great state of Iowa for work, life, and play."

With Anna's help, the new Tour of Iowa was launched in 2016 as a way to boost enrollment in the local summer ball program. The small communities were struggling to get kids to register for their programs and facing the potential cancellation of summer ball. Tour of Iowa became an incentive, a special week of field trips open to children entering 4th - 8th grades who joined summer ball.

The incentive worked. Since 2016, enrollment in summer ball has grown 10 fold, attracting 30-40 children. But the Tour of Iowa is so much more than an incentive to play.

"The tour has really built a sense of community within our kids," said Upah. "They get to know other students and parents beyond who is in their class, provide input on the tour locations, and learn about different employers and career paths in Iowa."

The Tour of Iowa has taken participants to a wide variety of Iowa locations including the University of Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame, Iowa Capital, Old Capital Museum, Herbert Hoover Museum, Iowa Speedway, Pella, John Deere, Benton County Jail, Raptor Center, and the Vinton Blind School. This year's tour will include a trip to Manchester, Ames, and Council Bluffs.

"Many of the students who participate would not have the opportunity to see the broader scope of our state without the tour," said Upah. "We are so thankful to the City of Keystone and the local companies who sponsor the tour and the citizens who support our fund raisers for the program. They allow us to provide the tour at no cost to the students."

For more information on the Tour of Iowa, visit the Keystone-Elberon Summer Rec Facebook Page or contact Anna Upah.

Benton Development Group
Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
Future Ready Iowa
Grant Wood Area Education Agency
Iowa Big
Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce
Iowa City Area Development Group
Iowa Department of Education
Iowa Workforce Development
Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa
Kirkwood Community College
Kirkwood Industry Sector Boards
Kirkwood Workplace Learning Connection
MEDCO Community Promise
Regional Career and Technical Education Planning Partnership
School Districts throughout ICR
Southeast Iowa STEM Region
Stairway 5
STEM Innovator
University of Iowa Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship

To join our coalition, contact Kate Moreland at kmoreland@icriowa.org.
ICR IOWA is a joint venture between the  Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance  and the  Iowa City Area Development Group .

Our mission is to accelerate high-quality job growth and capital investment
in our seven-county region.