Grants aim to reduce language barriers in workforce

Eleven Iowa employers, including three from Iowa City, will receive a total of $357,470 to support programs aimed at reducing language barriers within Iowa’s workforce.

Announced by Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Iowa Language Learners Job Training Program grants are projected to support 465 program participants by helping their companies increase dual language instruction, expand communication with customers, and boost recruitment and retention efforts with new staff.

The funding will sponsor language programs in Spanish, English and Mandarin. Employers were required to provide plans for sustaining each language program beyond the grant. Courses were encouraged to be conducted onsite or include multiple options for flexible transportation off-site.

“Over the last two years, Iowa has put a significant focus on identifying remaining workforce barriers and overcoming them with innovative solutions,” said Ms. Reynolds. “These state grants are about tackling language barriers so we can help businesses better communicate with employees, serve more of their customers, and expand Iowa’s workforce into new populations.”

Grants were awarded to:

  • ALPLA, Inc., Iowa City
  • A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co., Dubuque
  • Catalyst Project Management, Iowa City
  • Country Maid, West Bend
  • Heritage Building Maintenance, Des Moines
  • Interstates, Sioux Center
  • Ironwood 53 Design and Build, Rock Valley
  • Neumann Monson, Iowa City
  • New Hope Village, Inc., Carroll
  • Shearer’s Foods, Burlington
  • VGM Group, Waterloo

For more information on the program, visit here.

The grant’s application deadline was extended in December.