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Future Ready

Future Ready Iowa

Future Ready Iowa is an initiative to build Iowa’s talent pipeline, led by Governor Kim Reynolds and the Future Ready Alliance.

Definition of College and Career Readiness in Iowa

Iowa students who are college and career ready have acquired the necessary knowledge, skills and strategies to be successful in post-secondary opportunities as demonstrated through multiple sources of evidence, including those generated by students.

This document from the Iowa Department of Education provides further information.

Why Do We Need the Future Ready Iowa Initiative?

Education or training beyond high school has become the new minimum threshold for Americans to earn a living wage and attain middle class status. In 1973, only 28 percent of U.S. jobs required education beyond a high school diploma; by 2025, almost two out of three jobs in the nation are projected to require at least some postsecondary education or training.

Future Ready Iowa is not a brand new program, but rather a collaborative approach to highlighting best practices, nurturing high-quality partnerships, and ensuring hardworking taxpayer dollars are focused on those areas that will maximize progress toward our goal.

Visit the Future Ready Iowa or the Future Ready AEA website to learn more!

J-Term Resources

Future Ready Newsletter

Future Ready Newsletter

Subscribe to Grant Wood AEA's Future Ready Newsletter!

This quarterly newsletter features district initiatives, upcoming Future Ready opportunities and events, articles of interest and other helpful resources.

Subscribe to the Future Ready Newsletter


AEA Prep

AEA PREP’s mission will be achieved through:

  1. Providing actionable postsecondary readiness and success data to all Iowa Pre-K-12 school districts.
  2. Developing a statewide network  of Postsecondary Readiness Leads and teams who will provide leadership & support to districts and AEAs in using this data.
  3. Creating a resource center  with updated research, postsecondary readiness data dashboards, presentations, webinars, and other information to support postsecondary readiness programs and initiatives
  4. District Policies and Practice Reviews
    • Do district goals align to Postsecondary Readiness metrics?
    • Are Equity policies/practices examined?
      • Superintendent Evaluation (Policy Series 300)
      • Career Education (Policy Series 600)
      • Graduation Requirements (Policy Series 500)

The Center (Authentic Learning Resources)

We work with schools and community partners to create:

  • engaged learners
  • innovative environments
  • future-ready community members
  • resilient, self-directed young people

Learn more about The Center.

Future Ready Iowa

Future Ready Iowa is an initiative to build Iowa’s talent pipeline. Current postsecondary data shows that education or training beyond high school is the new minimum to earn a living wage. Academic mindsets are surpassing the need for specific knowledge. Careers today and in the future require advanced knowledge and/or technical skills. Today's students are encouraged to demonstrate thinking competencies in creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

Learn more about Future Ready Iowa.

Governor's STEM Hub

The Governor's STEM Hub offers many opportunities for schools and teachers to bring STEM education into the classroom. From their Scale-Up grants, local STEM festivals, and teacher Externships they support connections to local and national community-based learning experiences for schools.

Learn more about Iowa STEM.

Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates (iJAG)

Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates, or iJAG, uses project-based learning as a basis for experiential learning.

For more information about iJAG visit the iJAG website.

Iowa College Aid

Iowa College Aid, in partnership with AEA PREP, provides FAFSA completion information to schools to ensure all students who choose to complete the FAFSA do so successfully.

Fact sheet: FAFSA Initiative

For more information, visit the Iowa College Aid website.

Iowa Intermediary Network

The Iowa Intermediary Network coordinators are experts at bringing students to great career exploration opportunities. Learn more about the Iowa Intermediary Network and their opportunities for students. 

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services work with Iowans with disabilities and help them find successful employment across the workforce. Learn more on the Iowa Workforce Development website.

Work-Based Learning Clearinghouse

Work-based learning helps students develop new skills and connections through projects, internships and apprenticeships that are embedded into classwork.

Learn more on the Work-Based Learning Clearinghouse website.

High School Registered Apprenticeship Programs (HSRAP)

"Registered Apprenticeship (RA) opportunities can be life-changing for high school students wanting to jump-start rewarding careers while helping employers develop a skilled early talent pipeline. ...Iowans are seeing the value of this “earn and learn” model that combines education and training with a paycheck from Day One and leads to a valuable national credential." HSRAP Playbook V2.0
Students begin coursework while in high school, partner with an employer to get valuable on the job training, learn key skills in a high demand career, and complete the program with a nationally recognized credential. HSRAP create clarity on pathways to career fields, and allow students to earn while they learn and accomplish their goals.
Current High School Registered Apprenticeship Programs available in Grant Wood AEA Region:
Resources for Participating Districts
Want to learn more? Please contact Jen Boyd with any questions you have!


Iowa's Core Strategies

Building Future Ready learners is a continuous cycle that uses Iowa's 5 Core Strategies of Data*, Transition*, Rigor, Partnerships*, and Relevance. Explore the resources below to begin developing Future Ready learners in your school!

*Current state and Grant Wood AEA priorities

Data icon


Support leadership, school improvement, and/or counseling teams to effectively use a variety of Future Ready data sources and think-abouts in their evidence-driven planning and alignment with ESSA and Differentiated Accountability.

Where can I find data about student readiness and success in postsecondary?


  • EXPLORE: Iowa PREP Trendlines to see trends among graduates with postsecondary enrollment, retention, and completion.
  • EXPLORE: Iowa Student Outcomes to find information related to student success from PK-12 to postsecondary education, to gainful employment.
  • EXPLORE: Iowa School Performance Profiles to see public school performance on required measures.
  • IDENTIFY: Areas of strength and opportunity by completing the Data Hunt using the tools listed above.

What are data points we should be focusing on for Future Ready success?


  • EXPLORE: Predictors of Postsecondary Success from American Institutes for Research to find the indicators and predictors for at each grade band for success at the next level.
  • IDENTIFY: Future Ready Healthy Indicators from Redefining Ready - College, Career, Life that you can track and support to ensure students are prepared for postsecondary success.
  • EXPLORE: ICAP Resource Tool to find lessons and experiences that support Future Ready initiatives.

How do I assess our current Future Ready Culture?


Transition iconTransition

Ensure integrated strategies for improving PK-12 to postsecondary transition services for all students, with an emphasis on under-represented students, especially those with disabilities.

What does it mean to be Future Ready?


What are the transition skills students most need?


How can I embed transition skills into my classroom?


  • EXPLORE: ICAP Resource Tool to find lessons and experiences that support Future Ready initiatives.
  • EXPLORE: ICAN Resources to find materials that support planning, applying, paying for and succeeding in high school and beyond.
  • SHARE : Course to College guide from Iowa College Aid with students and families.
  • WATCH/SUBSCRIBE: Iowa Intermediary Network Resources to hear from employers all over the state about career opportunities.

What opportunities are there for students during and after high school?


How do we communicate opportunities after graduation to help students find their pathway?


Why is the FAFSA important and how do we support students in completing it?


Rigor iconRigor

Identify and improve high‐quality instruction based on Iowa’s Academic Standards (content, 21st-century skills and Universal Constructs), especially for high‐need and underserved students and on closing opportunity gaps.

How is my core supporting Future Ready goals?


What are the top needs for the future workforce?


How can we support students in the development of skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, productivity and flexibility, and adaptability?


Partnerships iconPartnership

Expand high‐quality, work‐based learning experiences in various fields and careers for all students by enhancing partnerships in education, business, and community.

How can we provide experiences for students beyond the classroom?


Where do I find willing partners to support and connect with our programs?


Which industries are in most need of workers in my region?


  • EXPLORE: Future Ready Iowa High Demand Occupations to find current careers that are in high demand in the state.
  • EXPLORE: Occupational Projections to find detailed results about in-demand occupations by industry and region.
  • VISIT: Explore Careers developed by local Sector Boards! Take assessments to find strengths and interests, and explore careers and pathways by sector to learn about opportunities here in our region.

Relevance iconRelevance

Support the implementation of learner-centered, personalized, and/or competency-based education as pathways to future readiness and success.

How can we increase learner engagement?


  • EXPLORE: Authentic Learning Network to find resources and supports to implement authentic project and problem-based learning into curriculum.
  • EXPLORE: The Center to learn about competency-based education that leverages learner-centered and personalized pathways.
  • WATCH/SUBSCRIBE: Investing in Student Pathways to Strengthen Local Economies from where presenters share how innovative approaches lead to stronger community collaboration, teacher engagement, and student success.

What types of opportunities are available for students to become Future Ready during high school?


  • EXPLORE: ICR Iowa to find all the innovative education options available to students in our area!
  • EXPLORE: Kirkwood Community College Career Academies to find pathway programs available to high school students that lead to postsecondary programs.
  • ANALYZE: Use the Analysis Protocol to assess your district ICAP and find more opportunities to connect to Future Ready initiatives throughout PK-12.

How can I embed future ready concepts into my classroom?


  • EXPLORE: ICR Future - Educators Page to connect with groups and resources that support classroom curriculum.
  • VISIT: Explore Careers developed by local Sector Boards! Take assessments to find strengths and interests, and explore careers and pathways by sector to learn about opportunities here in our region.
  • EXPLORE: Your district’s Career Information System (CIS) to find connections with your classroom instruction.
  • CONNECT: With School Counselors to learn about the counseling program and ways you can support it.

What types of careers are in high demand?


Important contacts

Staff Directory
Image thumbnail for Molly Crock

Molly Crock

Future Ready Iowa Curriculum Consultant

319-399-6764 Email Molly Crock
Image thumbnail for Jennifer Boyd

Jennifer Boyd

CTE Consultant

Email Jennifer Boyd