National Volunteer Appreciation Week
The month of April plays host to National Volunteer Week (April 7 – 13). Workplace Learning Connection would like to thank our business partners and volunteers who are making a difference in their communities through engagement with WLC programming. Through our collaborative efforts we have proudly provided over 17,800 student experiences through career exploration events, job shadows, and internships this year. These experiences help to better inform and prepare students thus supporting the development and retention of our shared future workforce!
WLC believes in a vibrant community with a workforce ready for a changing world. We support the next generation as they navigate and connect to our shared future. THANK YOU WLC business partners for making a difference! We cannot do this important work of connection without your help!
It is easy to join the WLC volunteer team, simply visit our website
to find out how!
Build My Future Event Aims to Increase Industry Career Awareness
with Middle School Students
Nearly 150 middle school students attended Build My Future-ACE Career Day and Industry Showcase at Kirkwood’s Cedar Rapids campus on April 2. This first-time event was hosted by the Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) sector board. It provided students an opportunity to spend a day exploring the construction industry through interactive, hands-on learning labs highlighting industry practices such as carpentry, plumbing, heavy equipment, masonry, and drywall. The event hopes to help raise awareness among students in middle school about construction trades allowing them to learn more about the industry and peak their interest before reaching high school. With 54 percent of the jobs in our local economy requiring a post-secondary credential, but not a bachelor’s degree, events like this help to influence and inform students, their parents, and educators about the limitless opportunity that exists for our future workforce in the ACE pathway.
Educators and students found the event both enlightening and worthwhile.
“The hands-on activities are very engaging for the students. I hope these kids develop an interest in construction and other fields, considering them as career options. These are high-demand and high-paying careers.
” – Sara Fry, school counselor, Harding Middle School
“This is something I could see myself doing. I’m good at working with my hands.
” – Carolynn, student, Harding Middle School
“This (masonry) is the most fun thing here I’d say. People here are very nice and full of knowledge.
” – Landon, student, Taft Middle School
This Build My Future event is one of four being held this spring across Iowa, supported by a grant from the National Association of Home Builders.
Financial Literacy Fair Volunteers Still Needed
Financial Literacy is both an educational requirement in Iowa and a hot topic as young people face mounting post-secondary education debt. Want to be part of the solution? Volunteer today
and help area middle school students gain critical financial literacy knowledge during WLC’s Financial Literacy Fair!
“How incredibly impressed I was with the mature decision-making I observed in these young people! While they might not have a perfect grasp on how everything works, they have a good handle on the door that will open many opportunities for them.
” – Pat Hoge, compliance analyst, United Fire Group
“My favorite thing about the Financial Literacy Fair was finding out about the little things you pay for like work attire, different types of insurance, a meal plan, and health care. It also helped me realize how easy it is to be in debt and how you have to be extremely careful how you spend your money.
" – 2018 student attendee, Northwest Junior High
WLC will host nearly 5,400 eighth grade students from Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones, Johnson, Linn, and Washington counties. This year, fairs will be held April 16 in Iowa County, April 17 in Washington County, April 22 – 26 in Johnson County, and May 6 – 17 in Linn County.
Become a volunteer today by signing up at WLC’s Volunteer Now page
Business Engagement Needed for Critical Careers
ICR Future Coalition’s “Committed to Building Our Future Workforce” campaign continues to recognize current business partners and increase new business engagement. Since its launch in January 2019, WLC has added over 35 new business partnerships. However, the need for business engagement and support continues in critical information technology, health care, and engineering careers.
“Our K through 12 educational system is doing a good job of providing students with class choices for high-demand careers in our region. WLC does its part in helping students explore those careers through career fairs, speakers, and job shadows,” shares Ann Brendes, WLC internship coordinator. “The WLC internship program is an option for high school students who want to have a longer look at a career before locking in on those high school or dual-credit courses or choosing post-secondary opportunities. We are always seeking support from our local businesses. We hope they’ll take the opportunity to mentor these students through the WLC internship program. Giving students a chance to make better choices while they develop a connection to their community as they’re learning at the worksite. Why not introduce a student to your business when they’re interested in learning about it?”
Interested in connecting with your future workforce? Connect today!
Food Science and Biotechnology Day Provides a Rare Glance at the Industry
for High School Students and Educators
Food Science and Biotechnology Day, held on April 5, provided over 80 area high school students and educators a rare glance inside the food science and biotechnology industry as Diamond V, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, General Mills and Red Star Yeast Company opened their doors to them.
“Participating in events like Food Science and Biotechnology Day motivates students. Knowing that what they are learning in the classroom will prepare them for the workforce, establishes an end goal. It is great to reference Workplace Learning Connection events when I’m teaching,” relayed Joan Stekl, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Cedar Rapids Washington High School.
The industry-led event takes aim at educating high school students about local opportunities while seeking to slow down Iowa’s “brain drain.”
“Kirkwood is a conduit for area employers, opening eyes to many career opportunities,” shares Iowa New Job Training Manager Stephanie Bredman. “We are relentlessly promoting that you don’t have to leave the state to find a good paying job. WLC effectively communicates this to young people.”
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)