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$11.5M in federal funds to provide student mental health aid, expand career programs


Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education announced last week that more than $11.5 million in federal relief funding is available to assist public school districts in providing mental health support and other wraparound services to pre-K-12 students. The funding will also support community colleges’ efforts in expanding programming to help more Iowans earn short-term credentials needed for in-demand careers. The funding represents Iowa’s share of more than $1.3 billion in discretionary funds provided through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II Fund), which is part of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act passed in December 2020. Governors in each state were granted a share of discretionary dollars to address critical needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. The funding will support up to $8.67 million in competitive grants to help Iowa pre-K-12 school districts coordinate and deliver mental health services and support to students, youth mental health first aid training and implementation, and suicide prevention services and programming. It will also provide up to $2.89 million in competitive grants for Iowa’s community colleges to supplement the state’s GAP Tuition Assistance Program, which will help more Iowans whose jobs were affected by the pandemic to enroll in short-term training and credential programs leading to high-demand jobs. Last fall, Iowa received $26.2 million through the first round of GEER funding within the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Reynolds designated to expand broadband access and increase internet connectivity for students for the 2020-21 school year.

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