Des Moines Area Community College student Jay McCord has been working as a paraeducator in the Perry Community School District for three years, and is taking advantage of the community college’s teacher pipeline program to further his education.

He and other Iowa educators got to share their experiences last week with the U.S. secretary of education in the hopes of eventually spreading the opportunities they’ve utilized through DMACC to schools and teachers across the country.

“Education was really something that was hard for me just because I needed an awful lot of extra help,” McCord said. “So this program really helped me with being in the classroom while taking those classes, and being able to connect my schoolwork to what I’m actually doing.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Iowa Dec. 7 to hear from students, both in lower and higher education, and teachers about the triumphs and trials, and how programs like those implemented at DMACC open doors for those wanting to work as an educator.

After a tour and discussion at Perry Elementary, which was named a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, Cardona spoke to DMACC students, who also work as educators in Perry and other schools, about the community college program and the opportunities it has afforded them.

Each group emphasized that schools need more teachers to support students, and that programs like DMACC’s Teacher Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship program, housed at the DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy, are necessary to make earning an education degree more accessible.

Read the full article about teacher apprenticeships by Brooklyn Draisey at The 74.