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AIWP 2021 Conference Logo 2021 03 22 hng

May 6 + 7, 2021


Thursday, May 6th from 9:30-2:30 

Friday, May 7th from 9:30-12:30

Now in its 20th year, the AIWP Annual Conference is the premier professional development conference for Iowa's workforce development professionals, Local Workforce Development Board members and CEOs, and program partners across the state. 


The 2021 AIWP Annual Conference took place virtually this year to respect public health guidelines for COVID-19. This year's conference included two learning tracks:

  • Professional development and technical assistance

  • Self-development as a workforce development professional



Thursday, May 6, 2021

9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Welcome Activity 

Sponsored by Burlington English


Participants are encouraged to engage with the Poll Everywhere questions as they enter the event. Conference attendees that participate will be eligible to win great prizes during the closing plenary! 


10:00 to 10:15 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Comments

Jen Erdmann, AIWP Chair

Bri Steirer, AIWP Board Support

10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Workshops

Generation Z, Post-Millennial: Tapping into the Power of History’s Largest Generation

Cherisa Price-Wells and Kendra Schaapveld, Equus Workforce Solutions 

Session attendees will receive information on demographics, educational trends, buying habits, cultural issues as well as other relevant workforce development trends and forecasts specific to Generation Z to identify talent and workforce development strategies for tapping into the power of this diverse generation.

COVID Trauma: How do we Heal?

Benjamin Drury, MA, Mindspring Mental Health Alliance


The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many people’s mental health. How do we heal from its impact? This seminar explores what trauma is and how COVID-19 trauma impacted us. Discover practical steps to start the healing process in this one-hour session with Benjamin Drury, MA. 


11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. 

Lunch and Learn Session: Providing Business Services in a Virtual World

Melissa Copeland-Silver and Andrew Hilliard, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS)


Participants will achieve the following learning goals during this session:


  • Market weekly Business Spotlight presentations virtually.

  • Use technology to deliver quality presentations for both businesses and job candidates. *Work with WIOA partners to increase the number of participants.

  • Create a space for businesses to learn from each other regarding recruitment and retention efforts.

  • And more!

12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Workshops 

SIMPLE: Technology Tips to Save You Time

Norma Havlik-Smith, IowaWORKS at Kirkwood Community College

COVID-19 has fast-tracked many of our virtual learning goals. During this session, Participants will learn Technology Tips & Tricks that save time, space, and allow more efficient "virtual" and Face-to-Face Interactions, put those the Technology Tips & Tricks into practice, and get a chance to share best practices when it comes to serving job seekers virtually.  


Strategic Partnerships & Resources for Iowa’s Skilled Health Care Workforce Shortages

Joe Collins, Iowa Department of Education
Vladimir Bassis, Iowa Department of Education


Since 2018, the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Department of Public Health have partnered to develop various resources to help attract, develop, and retain a skilled health care workforce here in Iowa. An innovative new project kicked off in 2020 to begin collecting, analyzing, and reporting large amounts of health professional licensure, education, and employment data. Attendees will receive an overview of these projects, review some key findings, and view a live demo of the new health professional license interactive tables that will continue to be updated, expanded, and further analyzed in the future. These resources can specifically be used to better understand and engage with employers and health care providers across the state by workforce professionals and other support partners.


1:15 to 2:15 p.m. 

Help Me Help You: Caring for Me While Caring for Others 

Andy Huls, Equus Workforce Solutions


Join Andy Huls, Licensed Clinical Psychologist for a thought-provoking session that will teach participants to recognize signs and symptoms of burnout and compassion fatigue, identify ways to incorporate resilience into the workplace, and develop a plan to implement self-care.


2:15 to 2:30 p.m. 

Closing and Announcements 

Friday, May 7, 2021

9:30 to 10:00 a.m.

Welcome Activity 

Sponsored by Burlington English


Participants are encouraged to engage with the Poll Everywhere questions as they enter the event. Conference attendees that participate will be eligible to win great prizes during the closing plenary! 



10:00 to 11:00 a.m. 

Together we Rise: Finding Success through Resilience Based Practices

Jennie Null, Meraki Institute of Learning at Tanager Place


Develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of trauma-exposed job seekers. Participants will learn how trauma impacts a one's personhood and wellbeing and the primary components of the RISE: Wellness and Resilience Framework. In this session, you will learn every day interventions and relationship approaches to foster indicators of wellbeing for person's who have experienced past trauma, mental health diagnosis, or other disabilities.


11:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. Workshops

Home Base Iowa: Inspiring Excellence through Community Engagement, Education, and the Workforce

Jathan Chicoine, Home Base Iowa 

Home Base Iowa (HBI) is a one-of-a-kind program connecting Veterans, military personnel, and family members with resources and opportunities in Iowa. Expanding on broader support from the State of Iowa, HBI organizes around three areas of focus: (1) workforce solutions & growth; (2) quality education & student success; and (3) community support.  Attendees will gain an understanding of HBI and how connecting HBI Businesses, Institutions of Higher Education, and HBI Communities has inspired great excellence and brought top talent to Iowa. 

Iowa’s Ability to Benefit State Plan

Mike Williams, Iowa Department of Education 


Session participants will explore the specifics of this recently Federally approved program allowing students who are getting their HSED/HiSET to gain college credit and utilize PELL dollars at their community college.


12:00 to 12:30 p.m.

Closing Plenary

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