Ivanka Trump and Gov. Kim Reynolds Visit Waukee APEX

March 19, 2018

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds brought president’s adviser Ivanka Trump to tour the Waukee Innovation Learning Center on March 19, 2018.Trump and Reynolds participated in a experiment with Dr. Holly Showalter and the Human Services strand of APEX as well as explored the programs the Engineering strand uses to complete assignments. The visit concluded with a roundtable discussion between Trump, Reynolds, government officials, educators and the student associates of APEX. More story and interviews to come.

The roundtable discussion began with Governor Kim Reynolds giving a brief overview of Waukee Apex and STEM. Ivanka Trump then spoke on how programs like APEX are important for future of education in America, commenting on how the White House views STEM and computer-based skills are foundational. Then the conversation opened up to the rest of the members of the table, and the topic shifted to the importance of workforce development. They discussed how Iowa is ranked fourth in the number of people employed and how that makes it difficult for employers to find skilled people to fill their job positions. The solution proposed was to focus on educating the students on the different job opportunities by allowing them to hold apprenticeships. Trump then stated that the Department of Labor is looking at changing the way apprenticeship registration works at a federal level because it is challenging for small businesses.

Following the topic of workforce development, each of the students then introduced themselves and explained their APEX journey. Each of them explained how the program helped build skills for them and taught them different career possibilities. Trump then asked about the difficulty level of getting into the APEX program. The question was met with that there are no requirements because it is important that all students are given the opportunity to build these skills. The discussion then shifted to what the Governor and White House can do to help replicate this program in other schools. It was then proposed that if schools have more flexibility in using the money that is available in the ways that they need it. An example was brought up that recently in a workforce development program, they ran out of money in one area of the program, but had money to spare in another sector. Due to the way things currently are, they aren’t able to use the extra money that they had. It was then encouraged to work on changing that, so the budget becomes easier to manage for schools. The discussion ended on making sure that the workforce education becomes more adaptable to match the current workforce.

 

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