Iowa Workforce Development
Iowans Can Access Free Professional Courses Online Through Coursera
DES MOINES - Iowa Workforce Development has partnered with Coursera to offer free online learning opportunities to Iowans during the pandemic. Coursera is an online learning platform with over 4,300 courses available from a variety of academic institutions and organizations worldwide. The online classes and certificate programs are available to Iowans at no cost if they register for and enroll in any of the courses by Sept. 20, 2020, and complete their courses by Dec. 31, 2020.
“Like all states, Iowa has experienced changes in how we work and learn as a result of the pandemic. We are excited to partner with Coursera, a free online learning platform, to help Iowans who are looking to build their skill sets or explore new careers,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “By working with Coursera, we can provide increased access to a wide variety of courses and certificates, including in high-demand careers. We also encourage employers to leverage this resource to upskill or retrain employees whose jobs were affected by the pandemic. It’s free and we believe it will be a valuable new tool in our recovery.”
Coursera participants can access courses and certificate programs in areas such as entrepreneurship, information technology, and advanced manufacturing training.
“Although the pandemic impacted in-person training sessions at our IowaWORKS offices, we are using creative solutions such as Coursera to offer Iowans a chance to build their skills for their current job or a new job in the future,” Michael Witt, IowaWORKS Division Administrator. “We look forward to helping Iowans enroll in free courses and connect with great job opportunities.”
Iowans can register for an account and enroll in courses HERE. Additional information can be found at www.IowaWorkforceDevelopment.gov
University of Iowa
College of Public Health
UI Coronavirus Modeling Application Projects Future Course of COVID-19 in Iowa
A new University of Iowa website developed by public health researchers tracking the COVID-19 pandemic provides an interactive tool to model the effects various mitigation measures could have on the future course of the disease in Iowa. The website and modeling application is available at https://covid-19.public-health.uiowa.edu/.
The tool utilizes statistical modeling to predict how interventions such as social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) might influence COVID-19 in Iowa. Projections indicate that novel coronavirus infections and deaths could increase or decrease substantially in the coming months, depending on how many Iowans adopt these measures and how effective mitigation efforts are in limiting disease transmission. While the modeling tool provides estimates for the expected epidemic trend, the researchers stress that actual outcomes may vary considerably.
“The College of Public Health COVID-19 Response Team developed this tool as a free public service to state and local policymakers, business leaders, and others to assist in guiding the community response to the coronavirus pandemic,” says project leader Joseph Cavanaugh, professor and head of biostatistics in the UI College of Public Health.
The modeling application’s interactive features allow users to adjust and visualize the impact that two types of “nonpharmaceutical interventions” — social distancing and universal PPE — could have on the number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, ventilator use, and deaths over time. Other variables include the date interventions are implemented, level of PPE effectiveness, and the percentage of Iowa’s population that adopts social distancing or PPE recommendations...
To read the full news article published on June 12, 2020, by the University of Iowa College of Public Health, please click here.
Jefferson County Public Health
Today, I want to share some of my professional credentials related to emergency preparedness and public health. I feel it is important during this on-going pandemic response to offer this level of transparency as your public health administrator.
*I have been a Registered Nurse for 25 years, 12 years as the Jefferson County Public Health Nurse Administrator. I was the public health administrator during the H1N1 pandemic. I have participated in Emergency Preparedness since the launch of the federal preparedness program.
*I hold certifications in the following: hospital emergency incident command system. (HEICS) Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), Public Information Officer (PIO), National Incident Management System (NIMS 100, 200, 300, 700 and 800)
*Jefferson County Public Health, Jefferson County Emergency Manager, Brett Ferrel and Jefferson County Health Center Emergency Department Manager, Staci Worley BSN, facilitate the Jefferson County Preparedness Coalition. Our group meets monthly with community partners to focus on emergency preparedness and response. Since January 2020 our main focus has been COVID-19.
*Public health participates in emergency preparedness drills/exercises. Community partners include; health center, dialysis center, long term care and assisted living facilities, schools, colleges, law enforcement, fire, EMS and other public/private entities. Some of the preparedness scenarios have included: a mass fatality school shooting, tornado touchdown, power outage, communicable disease outbreak, and identifying vulnerable populations in Jefferson County.
*Please remember that changes will continue to happen with COVID-19 mitigation and all emergency preparedness response.
*Your partners continue to participate in preparedness and mitigation education at the federal, state and local level.
*Thank-you, for your support during these challenging times.
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Iowa Renewable Energy Firm Reenergized with PPP Loan
U.S. Small Business Administration
Iowa District Office
In the past decade, Fairfield-based Ideal Energy has grown from one of Iowa’s first solar companies to become a leading energy firm in the Midwest. Founded in 2009 by former U.S. Navy Seal Troy Van Beek and his wife Amy, the company specializes in commercial and industrial solar installations. It is widely recognized for delivering innovative and advanced clean energy solutions to customers throughout the Heartland.
Ideal Energy is a pioneer in energy storage in Iowa. Its successful business strategy created a new energy market segment in the state and positioned the veteran-owned company as one of the top 20 solar and storage providers in the nation.
The Van Beeks anticipated significant growth in 2020 after doubling sales in the previous year. The company placed a large equipment order from its Chinese suppliers in December that was expected to arrive in March. The early COVID-19 outbreak in China delayed shipments for six weeks, impacting the company’s spring construction projects. Due to the disrupted supply chain, Ideal Energy felt the pandemic’s economic impact almost immediately. Without the necessary equipment, it could not meet its customers’ needs and its cashflow suffered greatly.
Thanks to an SBA-backed Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan through Iowa State Bank in Fairfield, Ideal Energy was able to operate at almost full staff level. Designated as an essential business, it immediately implemented safety procedures to protect its workers. Office staff, including engineers, designers, project managers, and sales professional were given the option to work from home. The company’s quick transition to virtual meetings offered continued service to future and existing clients. Its onsite field teams also took additional safety measures with daily temperature checks, frequent sanitization practices and upgraded PPE.
The Van Beeks credit Ideal Energy’s long-term relationship with Iowa State Bank and Vice President Karl Metcalf’s quick response in processing the PPP loan for helping the company navigate the crisis. The bank’s ongoing support of the local business community is an example of the important role community banks are playing in the COVID-19 economic recovery.
Follow the Iowa District Office for the Small Business Administration on Twitter at @SBA_Iowa.
Message from your Fairfield Iowa
NAMI Certified Teachers
Sharing information and resources for our community
Hello, and thank you for being here!
We are unable to see you in person due to COVID-19, however, we can share with you that NAMI is working diligently to bring mental health education and support programs to you online.
Please visit the links we provided in this newsletter, and explore what NAMI has to offer. Stay healthy and safe -- we hope to see everyone soon.
Diana, Jan, and Heidi
Teens and Young Adults
Supporting a Family Member
Individuals with Mental Illness
Message From NAMI's CEO
We recognize that people affected by mental illness face additional challenges dealing with COVID-19. Now, more than ever, it’s important to remember that there is no health without mental health.
Read more listen to video
Training and Support
NAMI Basics OnDemand is a free, six-session online education program
for parents, caregivers and other family who provide care for youth aged 22 or younger who are experiencing mental health symptoms.
NAMI Basics OnDemand is an adaptation of the in-person course offered in 43 states by NAMI affiliates.
NAMI Basics OnDemand Intro Video
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Sharing local and national information and resources
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We are here to help.
COVID-19 has affected various aspects of life for Iowa residents, communities, and businesses. Information surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing and can be overwhelming. To help Iowans navigate information, the Iowa Department of Human Rights has compiled some resources about health and safety, language access, food, employment, grants, and more that we will be sending out in a weekly email. We hope these resources will help Iowans stay safe, healthy, informed, and resilient during these challenging times.
During the pandemic, it is especially important for us to serve as a catalyst of information to provide support and resources to Iowans, particularly vulnerable Iowans who are experiencing additional challenges, to help them understand the state's response to COVID-19.
Iowa Department of Human Rights Receives CARES Act Funding to Help Low-Income Families
The Iowa Department of Human Rights' Division of Community Action Agencies received approximately $10.8 million to supplement its regular annual Community Services Block Grant. The funds will be used to support Iowa's statewide network of community action agencies to help prevent, prepare for, or respond to the coronavirus. Many agencies are already involved with food banks, food delivery initiatives, clothing, diapers, and addressing other emergency needs for households with limited income.
Additionally, approximately $4.2 million was received to supplement the annual Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The LIHEAP program assists households with a portion of their home heating bills, particularly those facing disconnection or who have trouble paying their utility bill. Interested persons can apply for LIHEAP (deadline June 30) and other assistance at their local community action agency. Information about your local community action agency can be found on the Iowa Department of Human Rights' website at https://humanrights.iowa.gov/dcaa/where-apply.
Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program
The COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program will provide short-term relief to income-eligible renters and homeowners who are at risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a documented COVID-19 related loss of income after March 17, 2020. There is a maximum of $3,200 for rental assistance, and a maximum of $3,000 for mortgage payment assistance. The Iowa Community Action Association (ICAA) and Iowa's local community action agencies are partnering with the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and Iowa Workforce Development to assist in reviewing and approving rental relief applications, and will assist renters with their applications.
Additional program details and the application are available at Iowa Finance Authority's website.
COVID-19 Related Legal Information
The Iowa State Bar Association, Iowa Legal Aid and the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project are co-hosting the next People's Law School information session on June 16, 2020, 5:30-7:00 p.m. The virtual session will be focused on COVID-19 related legal issues. Topics include employee rights, unemployment, workplace safety issues, evictions, foreclosures, debt collection and stimulus payments. The event is free and open to the public. Online registration is available until June 16. To register, click here.
Resources for Uninsured
COVID-19 Testing Coverage
Throughout the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, Iowans who do not have health coverage and wish to be tested for COVID-19 may complete an application for COVID-19 Testing Coverage. If an individual is found eligible using this application form, the health coverage will only pay for medical tests for COVID-19 but not other medical costs such as doctor visits, hospital care, or prescriptions. To apply for full medical benefits, visit dhsservices.iowa.gov or go to Healthcare.gov. The Help Center number is 1-855-889-7985.
Free TeleMobile Clinic
The University of Iowa TeleMobile Clinic is offering free telemedicine appointments for patients who are uninsured. The TeleMobile Clinic can help with chronic diseases and medications, acute minor medical illnesses, mental health, and signing up for insurance. Text or call 319-535-2684. To view the TeleMobile Clinic multilingual videos, click here.
Aid for Farmers/Ranchers
The USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) provides direct payments to agricultural producers whose operations have been impacted by the the coronavirus. Applications are being accepted through August 28, 2020. Producers may apply through the Farm Service Agency at their local USDA Service Center. For more information on eligibility, where to apply, payment calculator, and assistance, visit the USDA's website at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.
You can catch COVID-19 in warm weather
As summer approaches, there remains the question if warm weather and temperatures can slow the spread of COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you can catch COVID-19 no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. The CDC states that there is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. The best way to protect yourself is to continue to follow public health guidelines--wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, wear a mask, clean and disinfect, and monitor your symptoms. For information on other myths and scams, visit the Iowa Department of Human Rights at https://humanrights.iowa.gov/covid-19/myth-busters (Google Translate feature available for multiple languages).
Easing Restrictions for Facilities
The State has issued guidance to ease restrictions for long-term care facilities, as well as the Iowa Department of Human Services' (DHS) facilities within the Mental Health and Disability Services Division. View the guidelines below for rules on opening facilities, visitation, and safety measures.
The Iowa Legislature resumed session on June 3 after pausing it in March due to the coronavirus. For information on legislators, bills, schedules, and legislative agendas, visit https://www.legis.iowa.gov/.
Unemployment Benefit Programs
Two unemployment benefit programs, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and State Extended Benefits, are now available to Iowans. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation provides an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to Iowans who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits. After their allotted weeks of regular state unemployment and the 13 weeks of PEUC are exhausted, unemployed workers will be eligible for State Extended Benefits. For more information, visit IWD's website and press release.
Iowa receives $26.2 million in emergency education relief to expand broadband access
The Sate of Iowa has received $26.2 million in federal relief to ensure education continues for students of all ages impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iowa’s grant is part of the nearly $3 billion Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The GEER fund allows governors to determine how to best meet the needs of students in public and non-public schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations.
Better enabling remote learning for K-12 and postsecondary students is the goal of Iowa’s GEER application. It focuses on providing and expanding broadband access and improving access to technology in other ways. That could include providing Wi-Fi hotspots and devices. Funding also may be used to offer professional development related to remote learning to educators in school districts and non-public schools as well as in public and private colleges and universities.
View the news release by clicking here.
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Jefferson County Public Health
*Please visit this link frequently as JCPH is no longer posting daily counts. Information is available in “real time.” Jefferson County data is available here: https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/# Several people have called the health department and stated the website is not working, the site is working. Please re-boot your device and try to access the website again.
*Contact tracing or communicable disease follow-up is performed by local public health departments for all communicable diseases. This is not a new process for public health departments. COVID-19 has presented some challenges for contact tracing. Individuals may remain asymptomatic and may have positive test results. Please remember, not all individuals will have testing performed, per their choice. Follow-up guidance has undergone several revisions. Changes in testing and contact tracing will continue to evolve as the virus continues to circulate in our community.
*Per Governor Reynolds news conference today: beginning Friday, June 12 at 8:00 a.m. the 50% capacity restriction will be lifted at businesses such as, restaurants, bars, and theaters. Swimming pools which had only been open for lap swimming and swimming lessons, may now open. Social distancing continues to be a recommendation.
*Vaccine for Children Immunization Clinic Changes: Effective June 01, 2020 JCPH is offering immunization clinics for children every Tuesday from 1-4. Appointments are required. Social distancing will followed. Please call the office at: 641-472-5929 to schedule your appointment.
*Please, wash your hands!
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Swim Lessons Schedule and Pool Use
Good morning! We just wanted to let everyone know that we’re offering swim lessons this year! The sign up sheet is attached here, please feel free to pass it along :)
It’s good to remember that during swim lessons, one or both of the pools’ shallow ends may be unavailable to water walking or other activities, especially during this time where social distancing is so important.
If you’re wondering about the different skill levels, here’s a guide:
There is no age requirement, however children must be able to safely participate, and to follow basic directions with the care and instruction of our lifeguards for safety. Our instructor’s guidance is that a child should be able to listen effectively, dog paddle, stand in 3 feet of water, and deliberately hold their breath and put their face in the water prior to being ready for swim lessons.
Beginner: Can be in and under the water comfortably, can dog paddle, can stand in 3 feet of water. Should be able to bob in water and know how to safely enter and exit pool. We will be working on floating, movement in the water using basic strokes, and coordination of limb movements for better swimming.
Intermediate: Should already be able to do all of the Beginner skills with ease. Will work on jumping into water and comfort with slightly deeper water. Will also practice retrieving submerged objects, longer floating and bobbing, treading water, changing direction of travel in water, and coordinated movement using all limbs. Will practice swimming longer distances.
Advanced: Should be able to perform all Beginner and Intermediate skills with ease. Will work on jumping into deep water, swimming for longer periods and in deep water, prolonged floating and treading water, improving and learning more strokes, headfirst entry into deep water, bobbing while moving to safety, and other necessary safety and swimming skills.
Thank you all! Have a wonderful rest of your week!
Visit the website here!
Free Webinar June 10: Iowa Sales and Use Tax Basics
A free online presentation will provide an overview of Iowa sales and use tax, including common taxable services and local option sales tax.
Topics covered will include:
Register now or visit IASourceLink for details on past and future webinar topics.
The Iowa Department of Revenue has partnered with the Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa to provide free tax webinars on IASourceLink. The presenter for this webinar is Terry O’Neill, Taxpayer Service Specialist with the Iowa Department of Revenue.
The Ride in Fairfield, Iowa.
Mark Smith is the new owner of the bicycle store formerly known as AJ’s, located at 123 North Court.
The name of the business has changed to “The Ride…” but a lot has stayed the same, including Mark, who worked at AJ’s for eighteen years before buying the business this year. A new sign and some changes on the inside but you can still find AJ wrenching in the back once in a while and some new young faces have shown up to learn the skills necessary to keep your bike in top notch shape.
Mark grew up in the Bonaparte area and has been a number of different things in his life, including working as a cook on ocean going vessels, being a wildfire fighter, and numerous stints as a chef at a number of Iowa City’s well-known restaurants.
Ask Mark why he settled into the world of bikes and he will look out to the horizon and smile and talk about the people he meets and the fun that happens when people get together to pedal. With the pandemic putting a halt to most indoor activities the bike business has been especially good this year. Electric bikes are becoming more popular, and traditional bikes are selling well also, but replenishing the supply has become more difficult due to the pandemic. Orders are backlogged ninety days or more as bike manufacturers affected by COVID-19 work to get back to full production.
In his free time, Mark has been one of the driving forces behind the development of the Chamber’s, ”Bike Fairfield” series (https://bikefairfield.com/) being offered this year. The first event planned was a bike rodeo, where kids in the after-school program at Pence Elementary would learn bike safety. Quietly, (which is Mark’s style), he donated an assortment of bike helmets for that event and then found another source for even more donated helmets. Unfortunately, the rodeo was scheduled for March 24th, about ten days after schools were closed due to the pandemic. The helmets will wait until next year.
The Ride… is currently open Tuesday-Saturday from 10AM-5PM. Winter hours are Saturdays only from 10AM-5PM. You can reach The Ride… at 641-472-1719. Stop by the store and check out their inventory, or dust off that bike in the back of the garage and get a tune-up. The “Level B Service Ride” is coming up on July 25th, and BAFLTAFR, “Bike Around the Fairfield Loop Trail Annual Fun Ride” is scheduled for August 8th.