Loebsack talks industrial training and funding in Lee County - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Loebsack talks industrial training and funding in Lee County

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Students working on STEM projects. Students working on STEM projects.
Students working on CTE project at the high school. Students working on CTE project at the high school.
Teachers working with students on robot technology directions. Teachers working with students on robot technology directions.
Barnes and Loebsack talking. Barnes and Loebsack talking.
Loebsack discussed funding, programs, and district growth. Loebsack discussed funding, programs, and district growth.
KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack made a stop in southeast Iowa Monday to push a plan that he said could be a long term fix to the county's historically high unemployment.

Loebsack met with teachers and officials in the Keokuk school district. He said getting children interested in STEM at an early age will help them get into the workforce quicker, which will eventually help unemployment numbers drop in Lee County. 

Students at George Washington Elementary worked on STEM Projects. Congressman Loebsack said it's important that kids get this kind of training at a young age. 

"Students can really begin thinking about these programs and being involved in these programs as early as the middle school level if they were available," Loebsack said. 

Meanwhile at the high school, students were working on building a shed as part of the career and technical education program. The school says businesses rely on locals to join their workforce. 

"We really want to have students coming out college and career ready," Superintendent Christine Barnes said. "Such an important part of that are skills that help them hit the job running and get to the job markets." 

Funding is a big part in making these programs happen. Congressman Loebsack said the schools are doing the best with what they can, and Keokuk knows that.

Superintendent Christine Barnes said the district lost title funds last year. The funds help districts with a high poverty rate meet state academic standards.

"Sustaining those programs is so critical and that in particular because it does impact our students who are at risk," Barnes said. "Those funding conversations are very important. " 

Loebsack believes the government needs to do more to help out the state to make sure more positive changes are coming. 

"We can come together on these education issues," Loebsack said. "We can come together on any number of things. There are a lot of us who are working together, not necessarily the leaders, that's the problem." 

He added that public schools are important not only for Iowa but the entire country.

He says U.S. Secretary of Education Besty DeVos needs to focus on making public schools better, especially in rural areas instead of discussing charter school options.

Loebsack also toured the updated plant at Cryotech Deicing Technology in Fort Madison. The company makes highway, commercial, and airport runway deicers, which removes ice and snow from a surface. 

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