ACTE Announces Iowa Manager of CTE and Work-Based Learning Initiatives as National Award Finalist


September 25, 2023 

Contact: Dominique Frascoia 


ACTE Announces Iowa Manager of CTE and Work-Based Learning Initiatives as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Gena Gesing, Manager of CTE and Work-Based Learning Initiatives at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa, as the 2023 ACTE Region III Counseling and Career Development Professional. This award recognizes the finest career and technical education (CTE) educators at the middle/secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities. 

Gena Gesing is the Manager of Career and Work-Based Learning Initiatives at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) where she leads the NICC College and Career Connection work-based learning initiatives, ensuring students in 25 school districts located in a rural 5,000 square-mile have opportunities to explore careers following the state work-based learning continuum model. The College and Career Connection program integrates coaches in high schools to provide individualized college and career planning and ensure that students are participating in appropriate work-based learning experiences. Since the original inception of the Iowa Intermediary Network legislation in 2014, Gena has been a member of this statewide network. From 2018 to 2022, Gena took on an active leadership role by strengthening and promoting the statewide network, resulting in a robust work-based learning system that was nationally recognized.  

Other involvement in career, work-based learning, and CTE include implementation of initiatives to meet and exceed federal target goals with the $2.7 million Department of Labor Youth Career Connect grant (2014-2019), as well as continued involvement with K-14 CTE/Perkins programming and requirements. Gena also led the NICC Career Services team, which designed a quadrant model of career development to ensure resources are available to the community for all stages of their future or current education and career aspirations. In 2023, Gena launched her consulting service, Spirited Strategies, to make a difference for others wanting to initiate or grow their work-based learning and CTE efforts. 

Gesing is one of five finalists for the 2024 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Gala, an award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on November 29, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. The Awards Gala is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, Goodheart-Willcox, The Army, and Stratasys. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage. 


About ACTE
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.