WLC Celebrates 20 Years!
Future Ready Iowa. If you haven’t heard about this initiative, we encourage you to check it out. The goal of Future Ready Iowa is for 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. This is indeed a significant and aggressive goal within the workforce. This effort will require years of pre-work, discovery and decision making, which melds with the mission of intermediary work – the heart of Workplace Learning Connection and its work-based learning opportunities.
Each year it’s a pleasure to share via our Annual Report
the successful delivery of Workplace Learning Connection services throughout our seven-county footprint. Our many school, business and regional community partner organizations make the goal of connecting today’s students to tomorrow’s careers a reality. Building a high quality work-based learning service delivery system is a product of time and collaboration. Achieving a system of comprehensive and equitable program delivery to our educational partners requires investments of both financial and volunteer support. Hundreds of regional businesses, economic development agencies, partner non-profits, government agencies and regional school districts have been involved to help develop our system over a span of many years.
In 1998, the concept of a future-ready, work-based learning solution comprised of a professionally staffed intermediary was proposed within the Cedar Rapids community. At that time we had no idea how these thoughtful visionaries could have such a regional impact. By fiscal year 2017, more than 29,000 student work-based learning experiences were delivered through WLC programs. Workplace Learning Connection continues to deliver on that concept as a department of Kirkwood Community College.
As we embrace this new school year and start our 20th year of service providing quality work-based learning connections for students, educators and our business community, we do so with a clear vision and purpose in our work – to be the leader in regional, national and global education. We all believe that Iowa’s Creative Corridor is a vibrant community with a future workforce ready for a changing world. The WLC team and our regional partners will continue to support the next generation of our workforce through innovative program delivery in FY18 and beyond! #futurereadyiowa
Job Shadow Online Application Portal is OPEN NOW!
Attention high school sophomores, juniors, seniors and parents. Apply now for the 2017-2018 school year job shadow opportunities! Contact your school for specific job shadow application deadlines. To learn more about WLC’s job shadow opportunities and how to apply, click here
Job shadows provide students a great way to explore a wide variety of career paths with local business partners and experts. It’s free and your school supports you in these efforts. WLC has some great tools to help students and parents on the job shadow journey. Struggling to decide on a career to explore? Let Career Coach
and this great tutorial
help you get started.
Wondering how to prepare for a job shadow experience? WLC’s new job shadow video
is designed specifically to help students prepare for their job shadow experience.
Interested in hosting WLC job shadow students? Check out our partnership opportunities here
WLC Internship Program Experiences Record Growth!
WLC’s 2016-2017 school year and summer 2017 internship sessions experienced a record number of applications and internships.
What’s behind this exciting growth? “Students today are keenly aware of how expensive college is and don’t want to waste their money or time,” says Ann Brendes, WLC internship coordinator, Linn County. Laura Kowalski-Bliss, WLC internship coordinator, Benton, Cedar and Jones counties, agrees. “Students are being tracked into classes so much younger and how do they know if it’s really for them? Internships provide them the opportunity to experience what a career really looks like.”
“I felt like the classes I was taking, the job shadows I was doing and the college programs I was looking into were all funneling me into computer science and I wanted to be sure I was headed in the right direction before fully committing and going to college.” Delany Thoma, CR Washington High School
Rochelle Sowers, Johnson, Washington, Iowa counties and West Branch HS internship coordinator, noted some counties nearly doubled. “The growth has been exciting!” shares Sowers. “We’ve had so many rock star students and business partners. There are great experiences to share!” Brendes and Kowalski-Bliss agree. “It is really hard to just talk about one outstanding outcome. It’s always a highlight when a student can articulate what they have learned. When a business partner is amazed by what these students can do. We hear this at least a couple dozen times every summer. Business partners are genuinely appreciative of what these students can do for them and businesses are excited to do more.” Sowers also adds there’s a huge value in business partner engagement, not just in the on-site hosting of an intern, but also participating in the student internship selection interviews. “It’s awesome when a business is really engaged in the process and recognizes shifts in trends and how they can help. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
What’s new and exciting for the WLC internship program for 2017/2018? WLC is working to increase business engagement and partnerships.
“Unfortunately we have had students we had to turn away due to the lack of host site sponsors in high demand careers. Student requests really drive our business partnership needs. It can vary year to year and even session to session. There is no way to predict our future needs. The wider our business partnership reach, the more efficient and effective we can be for our students and business partners,” says Brendes.
New for 2017-2018 are changes in internship application deadlines.
Winter 2017 and Spring 2018 Internships:
- Online application opens Monday, Sept. 25
- Application deadline is Friday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m.
Summer 2018 and Fall 2018 Internships:
- Online application opens Monday, Dec. 11
- Application deadline is Fri., February 9 at 3 p.m.
Interested in learning more about WLC’s internship program? Click here
for more information.
the solution to future workforce development! Check out WLC’s Partnership Opportunities.
Did You Know?
WLC hosted 25,575 students in 161 events during the 2016-2017 school year. Career exploration events for students in middle school through high school are a huge portion of what we do!
- Middle School Career Speaker Days
- High School Career Speaker Days
- Career Fairs
- Career Caravans/Careers on Wheels
- Mock Interviews
- Worksite Tours
- STEM Institute
- Target Your Future
- Advancing the Future Tours
- Building Trades EXPO
- Financial Literacy Fair
WLC staff is working now to fill hundreds of career speakers for the Fall 2017 session. Interested in sharing your career field knowledge and expertise? Be part of the solution to future workforce development. Contact
To learn more interesting facts about WLC, check out the WLC 2016-2017 Annual Report
Kirkwood’s Workplace Learning Connection, in co-sponsorship with Iowa Workforce Development, Employee Council of Iowa and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation invites you to attend a free training event!
Accessing the K-12 Pipeline
Thursday, Sept. 20, 2017
Linn County Regional Center, Room 900
This free event features keynote speaker Cassandra Halls generational strategist and speed showcase presentations from some of Eastern Iowa’s most innovative economic development, project-based learning programs and work-based learning programming experts.
Event attendees will:
- Gain an understanding of the upcoming generations and how to best connect with them.
- Learn innovative HR practices to increase effectiveness with all generations.
- Connect with partner agencies to help them directly access a pipeline of ready candidates to meet their needs.
Linn County Regional Center
1770 Boyson Road, Hiawatha, Iowa 52233
319-398-1040 | 319-398-1041 (fax)
Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
2301 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville, Iowa 52241
319-887-3970 | 319-358-3102 (fax)