Workplace Learning Connection Holds First Cedar County High School
Career and Job Fair
In February, Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) held our first Cedar County High School Career and Job Fair in Tipton, Iowa. West Branch, Tipton and North Cedar Schools brought a total of 250 students from grades 10 through 12 to learn about local career and summer job opportunities. A total of 30 businesses participated in this fair from a range of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, municipal and emergency service careers, and more.
“I really enjoyed interacting with the high school students from Cedar County. They were engaged in the conversation, showed enthusiasm and they are our future,” shares Linda Beck, Tipton development director. “The career fair was extremely organized and I enjoyed it. I can’t wait for next year!”
To ensure engagement between the students and businesses, the team created an interactive card for students to use. As students talked with businesses and asked questions, they collected signatures in their brochure. Upon completion of the fair, those with 10 or more signatures were entered into a drawing to win Casey’s gift cards.
To develop this brochure, WLC turned to our own local talent of high school students at the Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville and enlisted the help of the Graphic Design Academy
. Students were asked to create a “game card” design with an interactive element. Out of the seven students who submitted designs, Guilherme Mendes, a senior from Clear Creek Amana, won the challenge with his unique brochure-style design.
LeeAnn Eddins, the Graphic Design Academy instructor leading the project, was excited about the opportunity. “When I heard about the need for a ‘game card’ to support networking interaction at the career fair, I jumped at the opportunity for our students to work on an actual design project. Everything about this project illustrated the role of design in business. We were able to interact with our client, get relevant details and content, review draft designs, refine the designs to a final form, and complete the printing and production of this small run of products right here in class. My hope is to find other such projects around campus to do in the design classes I teach. It could be special projects needing posters, brochures, logos, flyers … anything promotional. I would be happy to discuss any project ideas with others in the Kirkwood community. It’s a win-win.”
Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 19 – 25 and WLC Wants to Say “Thank You!”
National Volunteer Appreciation week is April 19 – 25 and WLC wants to thank all our amazing businesses and volunteers. We couldn’t do what we do without you! On average we have nearly 2,300 volunteers every year across our seven counties, and this year alone we provided career-connected learning opportunities for over 28,000 students!
Our businesses and volunteers truly make an impact on our students’ career development while helping to build our future workforce, in a fun and engaging way for the business as well. “Designing projects for WLC interns and mentoring them during the project keeps my perspectives fresh and prompts new and interesting questions. It’s also a great way to be involved in the development of future colleagues,” highlights Dawn Marshall, research manager at National Advanced Driving Simulator and director, Safer–SIM UTC, University of Iowa.
WLC has great support from our communities yet there is always need for more support, especially in high-interest industries such as computer programming, healthcare, research and engineering. If you are interested in getting involved, please visit our volunteer page
to learn about all the opportunities available!
WLC Gets Creative During Period of Social Distancing
Like everyone else, the WLC team has had to adjust to the “new normal” during this unprecedented time. The team’s primary goal is to make sure we are continuing to make a positive impact in our students’ lives any way we can by embarking on several new and innovative initiatives.
- WLC sent personalized emails to all students who missed job shadows or internship experiences this spring due to coronavirus closures. These communications included online resources specific to their field of interest that students can use to continue their career exploration journeys from home. "Looking at the emails you are sending out to my students reminds me of what I try to promote with my students. Perceive obstacles as opportunities and ACT!!!" said Kurtis Broeg, Career Exploration and High School ELP coordinator at Mid-Prairie High School. "The emails you sent out with personalized links are awesome and appreciated. Lucky to have WLC.”
- We have been utilizing our social channel to share online resources on a regular basis with our broader student, parent and educator social community. They can now use the extra time they may have to further postsecondary planning for themselves or the youth in their lives.
- On our Facebook page, we launched a new feature called “Senior Spotlight.” We want to make sure our WLC Internship Program seniors get the chance to be recognized and share the positive experiences they had through their internship.
- We are building out Thank You! videos to recognize all our amazing businesses and volunteers who make the work we do possible. We will have a video for each of our seven counties.
- We are hard at work making new connections and exploring new opportunities that we can offer next school year.
- We are exploring what virtual mock interviews could look like in this period of social distancing.
- School liaisons are using quick surveys to communicate, gather information and collaborate remotely with our school contacts. They are also reporting school year 2019 – ’20 deliverables and gaining virtual input from our contacts to plan school year 2020 – ’21 programming.
- The WLC team is exploring models for individualized, technology-based delivery options for large-scale events, such as Financial Literacy Fair.
These are just a handful of the things we are doing to continue to support our students, parents and educators. The team is working hard every day to provide resources, tools, acknowledgements and future opportunities. We know when this is all over we will come back stronger than ever and are looking forward to connecting, in person, soon!
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)