PACE & GAP Programs

PACE stands for Pathways for Academic Careers and Employment. Per the Iowa Department of Education website, “The funding is to be used to implement a simplified, streamlined, and comprehensive process, along with customized support services, to enable eligible participants to acquire effective academic and employment training to secure gainful, quality, in-state employment."

Potential participants are students that are:

  • Iowa residents (paying in-state tuition at IHCC)
  • Seeking credential(s) in a career-oriented field (credit or non-credit: certificate, diploma, or degree)

and one of the following:

  • Unemployed, underemployed, or a dislocated worker
  • Uneducated or undereducated
  • Living between the 150% and 250% level of the poverty line.


Do you qualify for FREE COLLEGE? Read more here, or scroll to the bottom of the page to either contact Michelle Russell-Graham, GAP/PACE Coordinator or fill out the GAP/PACE application.


Once students are enrolled in PACE, they are assigned to a Pathway Navigator. This individual will assist the students with any needs they may have, by connecting them to resources on our campuses, as well as in our communities.

The PACE program has a funding stream available for students that can assist with basic needs (food, shelter, utilities, etc.), transportation needs (gas assistance, bus passes, car repair, etc.), career needs (work uniforms, interview clothing, professional licensure, etc.), and educational needs (tuition, books, fees, etc.). PACE students will discuss need with their Pathway Navigator; referrals may be made to best serve the student. PACE partners frequently with IowaWORKS, WIOA, Vocational Rehabilitation, the Iowa Department of Human Services, and other local community agencies. Our vision is for PACE participants to build skills in resume writing, stress management, interviewing, and in other important areas, so that as they finish their academic programs at Indian Hills, they are prepared to seek, apply, and interview for jobs, and successfully enter into their chosen professions. Each student will have an individual plan set up for them, keeping their academic goals in mind, that will help them reach, and even surpass, these goals.

Our goal as a program is to assist students in completing their education by breaking down barriers that may exist in each of their lives that could potentially hold them back from graduation.

GAP Tuition Assistance Program

The GAP Tuition Assistance Program provides tuition assistance to eligible applicants enrolling in an approved continuing education, non-credit, certificate training program. These programs are for in-demand occupations in the areas of information technology, advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, bio and life sciences, and allied health. Certificates earned will increase the skills of workforce members. Non-credit certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial aid. This program bridges the funding "gap" for those students pursuing short-term certificates.

Depending on your financial eligibility, you may receive full or partial assistance with your direct training costs, including tuition, books, and required fees. Eligibility is determined by assessing family income for the 3 months prior to application date and family size. All approved participants must be eligible to work in the United States.

Potential participants are students who:

  • Live between the 150% and 350% level of the poverty line*
  • Have completed the National Career Readiness Certificate
  • Have the ability to complete an eligible certificate program
  • Have the ability to enter a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or for-credit degree program
  • Have the ability to gain full-time employment
  • Have the ability to maintain full-time employment over time

*Applicants who fall below these income guidelines will be referred to IowaWORKS for review for WIOA.

Note: Applicants will undergo screening to determine if the program of interest is an appropriate choice. Particular consideration will be given to criminal history and driving record as it relates to successful completion of the program of interest and/or employment in the field post-training.

More on the GAP Tuition Assistance Program
Procedures for GAP Program to Credit Program


Did you know?

  • Middle-skilled jobs make up 56% of Iowa’s workforce, yet only 33% of Iowans have the necessary skills to obtain one of these positions.(Source: Labor Force and Occupational Analysis Bureau, Iowa Workforce Development)

  • In 2025, two-thirds of Iowa’s workforce will have already been working since 2012. Iowa’s skilled workforce is dependent upon adult and young people alike. (Source: Labor Force and Occupational Analysis Bureau, Iowa Workforce Development)

  • Construction, Manufacturing, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and Health Services make up 54.6% of Iowa’s middle to high skill job market. (Source: Labor Force and Occupational Analysis Bureau, Iowa Workforce Development). Indian Hills Community College offers a variety of certificate, diploma, and degree programs in these areas.

  • Middle-skilled occupations in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) earn higher wages and tend to have lower unemployment rates than many other fields, as well as a smaller salary gap between men and women. Also, in Iowa, STEM occupations have a mean hourly wage of $26.89, compared to $18.14 for non-STEM occupations. Further, the projected increase in job opportunities in these fields by the year 2020 will increase by 15,230 jobs in Iowa. Currently, Indian Hills Community College offers certificate, diploma, and degree programs in 14 of the 21 middle-skilled occupations in STEM that are the fastest growing.

  • 98.9% of students who received an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing were employed within a year of graduating and earned a median average income of $43,614. (Source: Iowa Department of Education)

Meeting you where you are now:

Navigating college can be a challenge for any student. The Pathways for Academic Careers and Employment (PACE) team is here to assist you with this process. PACE provides students with customized support services to enable eligible participants to acquire effective academic and employment training to secure gainful, quality, in-state employment.

Whether you are working toward your high school equivalency or completing a degree program, let our team meet you where you are at this critical stage in your academic journey.

Everyone’s story is different. Everyone’s challenges are different. Come, tell us your story. Let the PACE team help you, so your Indian Hills experience can be life-changing.

Customized Services

  • Grant-Funded Financial Assistance
  • Knowledge of Campus and Community Resources
  • Knowledge of IHCC credit, non-credit, certificate, diploma, and degree programs
  • Consistent and Personalized Support
  • Financial Literacy Education

Apply for PACE/Gap Assistance

To apply for assistance, please electronically complete the PACE/Gap Application and submit it to the appropriate Pathway Navigator below.”

GAP-PACE Application

Contact Us:

graham_profileMichelle Russell-Graham, Director, GAP & PACE Programs
Indian Hills Community College

525 Grandview Avenue Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Phone: (641) 683-5131or (800) 726-2585, ext. 5131
Email: [email protected]



horanMaggie Horan, Health Sciences
Indian Hills Community College

525 Grandview Avenue Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Phone: (641) 683-5149 or (800) 726-2585, ext. 5149
Email: [email protected]



neher_profileMelissa Neher, Advanced Technology, Centerville & North Campus
Indian Hills Community College

525 Grandview Avenue Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Phone: (641)-683-5285 or (800) 726-2585, ext. 5285 
Email: [email protected]