Oskaloosa High School | oskynews.org
Gov. Kim Reynolds recognized Oskaloosa in her Condition of the State address, highlighting the pooling of resources to provide transportation for high school students.
A grant from the Iowa Workforce Development's Employer Innovation Fund covers the cost of transportation for students in the Oskaloosa Community School District to attend career academies in Ottumwa at Indian Hills Community College. These students have the opportunity to study computer sciences, health sciences or welding technology.
Before receiving the grant, students had to find their own transportation, which was a financial burden to more than half of those wanting to attend classes.
According to The Oskaloosa Herald, transportation/Operations Manager Bill Almond crunched the numbers and passed the information along to Oskaloosa High School Principal Stacy Bandy, who applied for the grant.
“A lot of our kids don’t get a post-secondary degree or anything to that nature. So if we can help them and get them a ride down there and get them free college credit, why not,” Bandy told The Herald. "As juniors and seniors, we’re allowing them to get down there. One thing they have to do is when they’re at school, they have to go through our career tech ed and they have to take the classes that we offer.”
Some students are also able to take some of the classes online. Bandy said that a few students have been involved and found out that this was not the career path they wanted to choose, noting the importance of being able to explore career paths early and change focus.
She said the goal is to give students the skills that will allow them to hold down good jobs in their own communities.
Several community partners have come forward to match the grant: Musco, Clow, Oskaloosa Engineering & Manufacturing, Interpower, Mahaska Health Partnership, Cunningham, Oskaloosa Chamber, Oskaloosa Education Foundation, Mahaska Recreation Foundation and Mahaska Economic Development.