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Future Ready Iowa awards $6.6 million in scholarships

More than 5,800 Iowa students have received the new Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship for fall 2019.

More than $6.6 million has been awarded for the fall semester. That’s over half of the $13 million appropriated by the Iowa Legislature for the 2019-20 academic year. This is the first semester the Last-Dollar Scholarship has been available.

“When Iowans find good-paying jobs in cutting-edge careers, it can be life-changing for them and their families,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds, in an announcement. “The Last-Dollar Scholarship is connecting more Iowans to rewarding career opportunities, which will help employers hire the skilled workers they need to grow.”

The Last-Dollar Scholarship focuses on meeting business and industry workforce needs in four key areas: health care and biosciences; information technology; advanced manufacturing production, installation and maintenance; and construction and engineering.

The scholarship covers tuition and qualified fees for postsecondary credentials up to two-year degrees after an eligible student has applied other non-repayable state and federal aid

“This scholarship is a critical tool for growing incomes, closing the skills gap, and helping meet the needs of a competitive economy,” said Reynolds. “These initial numbers show the program is on track to be a huge success, and I want to thank Iowa College Aid as well as our other incredible state agencies, community colleges, participating independent colleges, and private-sector partners for their diligent work to implement this program.”

Previous coverage

$16 million in funding now available through Future Ready Iowa programs -June 4, 2019

Future Ready Iowa awards $6.6 million in scholarships | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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