Iowa D.N.R. and U.S. D.o.L. invest in Iowa STEM

Future student at John Deere plant in Des Moines
Bridging the worlds of school and work has earned Iowa STEM the trust of investors.

Two Iowa STEM programs just got a major boost thanks to grants totaling $250,000. The STEM Council’s premiere professional development experience for STEM teachers – six-week summer externships – has earned a major vote of confidence from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the form of more than $50,000 from their Resource Enhancement And Protection (REAP) grant competition. The 22 life science teachers who will spend summer 2017 immersed in DNR field projects thanks to the award will translate their experiences to dynamic lessons, as well as career coaching back at school in the fall. To date, nearly 400 Iowa teachers have bridged the school-to-work world transition that awaits their students.

Linking jobs to classroom experiences is also a hallmark of the STEM Council’s BEST® program, now numbering 18 school+business partnerships. Four STEM BEST models will pilot quality pre-apprenticeships for their students through a $200,000 subaward of a $1.8 million grant to Iowa Workforce Development from the U.S. Department of Labor’s ApprenticeshipUSA program. The funds will support educator-employer conceptualization, leading to student work-based learning experiences that springboard to post-secondary study and credentials in high-demand STEM occupations. From proof-of-concept, schools across the state will be provided the playbook for their own pre-apprenticeships.    

Grants and gifts make up an increasing proportion of Iowa’s STEM resource pool as investors come to know the impact and results of the STEM Council’s work. Many of the companies and organizations who contribute are credited at Workplaces interested in transforming education while priming the pump for their own future talent through hosting a Teacher Extern may sign on at Additional information about STEM BEST may be accessed at

To Top