PACE program

KIMT News 3 – Finding a job can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a high school diploma, or need more skills to move forward.

But now there’s hope.

It’s a program through a local college and it’s making a difference in North Iowa.

To make a program successful, there are many components.

Especially if it’s about getting a job and one local nursing home facility is happy to help.

“Everybody needs to further their education if they can. I’m back in school myself. I’ve never stopped being a learner so I really encourage my staff to go back to school if they can,” said Darcy Lee, director of nursing at Cedar Health.

And that’s exactly what some of her staff is doing.

These students are going back to school with the help of programs like PACE or Pathways for Academic Career Education and Employment.

It’s a program to help folks who want to get some type of certification for a job, but may not be able to afford the schooling.

“Its a wonderful mentorship opportunity to get staff that want to further their education so that not only get support from us but they get support from NIACC, get support from Iowa Workforce Development so they have a team approach,” said Lee.

Part of the team approach involves Heather Wright, the PACE pathways navigator.

She’s helping these students every step of the way.

“I love the program because it’s changing people’s lives. It’s very rewarding and I’m getting an opportunity to help people that may have not had that opportunity without this program,” said Wright.

It just started in January of this year but Wright says she’s seeing great success.

People are joining to work toward being certified with welding, CDL trucking, and healthcare professions.

And the funding is all coming from the state.

“The Iowa legislature gives the community colleges the funding which we’re fortunate to receive and then we distribute it based on their needs,” said Wright.

“We want our people to become social workers, we want them to become nurses, other department heads, because if they start out small and like what they like, like geriatrics, they can continue on,” said Lee.

The PACE program targets those who are unemployed, dislocated workers, or are in a low income job right now.

Wright says they help you from the moment you go to school to the day you get a job.

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