Iowa offers grants to create high school youth internships

Employers across Iowa, including the Quad Cities region, are encouraged to apply for grant funding to help them create new internships for Iowa’s youth to gain valuable work experience in high-demand careers. 

Future Ready Iowa’s Summer Youth Internship Program will distribute a total of $379,000 this year to assist Iowa companies and employers in developing new internships. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, educational institutions, employers and community organizations.

The target audience for the new internships includes high school youth who are at risk of not graduating, are from low-income households, are from communities underrepresented in the Iowa workforce, or youth who otherwise face barriers to success and upward mobility. Internship programs, eligible for funding, should employ youth ages 14 to 24.  

“One of the most important steps we can take as a state is to support our youth with meaningful opportunities that prepare them for future employment in Iowa,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds last month in announcing the latest round of Future Ready Iowa grant funds. “These grants not only help our youth by exposing them to high-demand careers, they focus that support on those who may already face barriers to employment. I encourage employers, non-profits, and eligible organizations to apply for this great opportunity.”

This marks the fifth consecutive year of grants for the Future Ready Iowa Summer Youth Internship.

It’s an initiative of the Future Ready Iowa Alliance, which was created by the signing of Executive Order 88 in August 2016. The alliance originally was co-chaired by then Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO of Principal. 

Future Ready Iowa’s goal is to have 70% of the state’s workforce have education or training beyond high school by the year 2025.

Applications for grant funding will be accepted at The application period opened in mid-January and closes at noon, Tuesday, Feb. 28. For information on the application and grant process, visit this link.

“Summer internships continue to be a valuable asset for our youth as well as the employers and organizations that sponsor their workforce experience,” Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said in an IWD news release announcing the grants. “We continue to support unique ways to build Iowa’s pipeline. Offering this grant early in the year will help maximize opportunities for overall recruitment.”

Employers awarded Future Ready Iowa grants may use them to support the following:

  • Participant wages (minimum of $12/hour).
  • Participant compensation as a result of completing the program.
  • Training resources (i.e., curriculum, internet access, software).
  • Program supplies and materials (i.e., uniforms, computers, books, tools, consumable items; less than $5,000 per item).
  • Direct transportation costs for participants and trainers.
  • Program coordination (i.e., wages for day-to-day staff who directly support program participants).
  • Administrative costs (limited to 10%).

Grant awards cannot be used for the following: participant stipends, reimbursement of food or drink, award/graduation ceremonies, marketing/promotional materials, vehicle purchase, fringe benefits, capital expenditures or gift certificates/vouchers.

While not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to co-enroll Summer Youth Internship participants with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I Youth Program in their local area. Review the Notice of Funding Opportunity to find the nearest local IowaWORKS office that can assist. For more information on these programs, visit here.

For more information on the grants and internship questions, contact Karen Evans at [email protected] or Patrick Rice at [email protected]

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