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"Iowa is a unicorn among states"

Say what? 

A recent article by Lee Gardner published by The Chronicle of Higher Education covers the "mystery of short-term credentials" and the tracking of non-credit data:

"Iowa is a unicorn among states when it comes to noncredit. Like most states, it distributes state support to its colleges based in large part on enrollment, but unlike most other states, it backs noncredit education with state dollars, so Iowa's public colleges have been counting their noncredit students since 1999. In the early years, that was literally a head count, just a raw number. Over the past two decades, however, the state has built a data infrastructure and funding mechanisms for noncredit programs similar to what it does on the credit side of the house."

So what does the data tell us?

  • In 2021, 140,992 students were enrolled in noncredit courses and 116,979 enrolled in credit courses
  • In 2020, about 84 percent who completed noncredit workforce programs in Iowa were then employed in Iowa
    • Their median wage before the program was $34,868 and after the program, the median wage was $37,684

Why does it matter?

"We're able to tell the story better," says Srdjan Golub, director of Community and Workforce Solutions at Hawkeye Community College in Gardner's article:

"[Golub] says he was told by local health-care providers that his instituition wasn't producing enough certified nurse's assistants, or CNAs, to meet local demand. By going back through the data he'd provided to the state, the college was able to demonstrate to employers that it was producing more than enough CNAs to fill all the slots. The problem was that graduates were spending less than six months in the jobs, he says. 'So really, the problem is not training; it's the wages, hours, the other things in the job.'"

See the full picture

Check out the Iowa Student Outcomes website and read the full article.

state of iowa shape with "Iowa" written to fit inside. Illustration of wild rose and unicorn.

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