WAUKEE, Iowa — Ivanka Trump met with staff and students of the Waukee School District’s Aspiring Professional Experience Program, known as APEX, on Monday.
This visit is part of her initiative to support the White House’s infrastructure plan and expanding federal job training programs. Governor Kim Reynolds said she wanted Trump to come and see the APEX building because she believes it’s important to show what programs are working in Iowa.
“It’s not really about new programs. It’s about expanding and scaling the programs that are already working, and up in that round table you heard Accumold is a great example of a program that is working. Partnerships between business and industry, our schools and community colleges or four year colleges,” Reynolds said.
During the tour, students showed Trump various projects including examining a zebra fish embryo under a microscope and a wind turbine project.
“It was really fun to see them talk about the projects they were working on, proof of concept, solving a problem. One group was building a demonstration on wind turbines and they are going to be having it displayed at the Science Center so that they can tout and show young kids that Iowa is a leader when it comes to renewable energy,” Reynolds said.
During the round table discussion, other students had the opportunity to share how APEX has even gotten them closer to starting their own business.
“I’ve learned a lot of great technical skills here, especially in the STEM classes, that have really helped me with that. I was able to build my own website so I didn’t have to pay someone to do that for my company, and I’ve designed my own logo, I can use a programs like Illustrator, and I have really learned a lot of great skills here that have then transferred into starting up my business,” said Waukee senior Ella Titus.
The Executive Director of the Iowa Business Council, Georgia Van Gundy, said she thinks the visit was very productive and hopes Trump will take these demonstrations and discussions back to Washington D.C.
“I think that she can highlight the work that’s been done here at the federal level so it heightens what we are doing, and I think this is a great example of a public-private partnership that can address workforce issues. We’re not the only state that has this issue, as well,” Van Gundy said.
Reynolds said they also discussed the Perkins and Pell grants and the importance of expanding them.
“We talked about the Perkins Grant and the Pell Grant, and I think really providing flexibility to states so that we can be innovative and think outside the box,” said the governor. “Really the partnerships, I wanted her to see all of the stakeholders that are involved from education to the government and providing some funding for this, to our business partners and how all of those are really important to make this work.”