Job Shadow FAQs for Parents

First-Hand Career Experiences

Job shadows offer a free opportunity for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to leave school for a few hours on one day during the school year to explore a career of their choice.

The online application is brief and requires approval from parents/guardians as well as the school.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Job shadows are a one-day, one-time experience, typically a 2-6 hour excused absence from the school day.

There are opportunities for nearly every career field and level of education available in the region. Most students who complete the application will receive a job shadow placement.

High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington counties are all eligible to explore a career of their choice through the Workplace Learning Connection job shadow program.

  • Job shadowing and internships are great opportunities for students to learn more about careers they are interested in or curious about, and gain information that can be applied to future education and career decisions.
  • Students can find out which skills, training, and/or education is needed, and get advice about what they can be doing now to prepare for careers.
  • They can connect classroom learning to a real world work environment and see the day-to-day routine or gain a broad overview of a career field.
  • It’s also a chance for students to network and develop important soft skills in getting out of their comfort zone to meet new people that share the same interests.

No, a job shadow is NOT the same as an internship. A job shadow is a one-time, 2-6 hour experience, whereas an internship meets multiple times for a total of between 45 and 90 hours.

Students are encouraged to complete a job shadow prior to applying for an internship. As opposed to job shadows, internships are available to students year-round, beginning with the summer after sophomore year and ending the spring of senior year. 

The online application process requires recommendations, school approval and an interview.  Not all students who apply will receive an internship placement. Students should speak with their school counselor if they are interested in an internship.

If students are unsure about which career to choose, they can meet with their school counselor or take a career assessment. 

We encourage any student who has not completed a job shadow or who is unsure of their career path to choose a Group Job Shadow.  The Group Job Shadow Opportunities allow students to explore several careers in one job shadow whereas the Career Choices are specific to one career.

Students should explore career choices available and apply for ONE job shadow. Students can access the online portal system from August 1st to a date in September determined by your school, generally around the second Friday of September.

  • Log in periodically and check your dashboard to make sure parent/guardian approval has been received.  Applications are not considered complete until the parent/guardian and school contact have submitted their approval.
  • Once the application has been approved, watch for emails from WLC, check spam folder. 
  • Tell parents to check for emails from WLC.
  • Once the parent or guardian approval has been submitted, the school must approve the application electronically as well for the application to be considered complete.

Once your student has applied, you will be sent an email from  The subject line will read: Workplace Learning Connection Job Shadow Request for [your student’s name] Needs Approval. Please be sure to check your Spam folder if you don’t see this in your inbox. This email will contain the easy instructions for you to complete the participation authorization for your student.

If you don’t have an email account or don’t receive the email, students can ask for a paper approval form in the school counseling office that they can bring home for you to sign.

Once the parent/guardian approval has been submitted, the school must approve the application as well.

Once Your Student is Approved for a Job Shadow

  • Assist them in making transportation arrangements, as your and/your student are responsible for transportation to and from the Job Shadow.
  • Help your student to understand the appropriate dress code for their job shadow, which is included in their placement information.
  • Encourage your student to read ALL information received via email and postal mail.
  • If paperwork is not received in 5-7 business days, have them contact our office.
  • Please understand we expect to hear from your student regarding availability for their job shadow.
  • Encourage them to complete a thank you note to their business host afterwards.
  • Please note that Job Shadow opportunities are for the student, not the parent.  Due to insurance restrictions, and the goals for learning related to the activity, we are unable to accommodate parent participation in the job shadow.

Generally speaking, transportation is NOT provided and must be arranged by the student.  If it is not possible for your student to drive themselves or to arrange for someone such as a parent or guardian to take them, check with your school to see if transportation is available.

 In most cases, students will receive a minimum of 2-week’s notice before the date of their job shadow to allow time for transportation arrangements to be made.

Due to the volume of job shadow applications received, students will be placed as soon as October and as late as May depending on job shadow host availability. On the job shadow application, students should indicate any conflicts (days/times/specific dates) that should be avoided when scheduling.

Students will receive an email from the person who will be coordinating their job shadow in early October.  Any questions a student has about their job shadow can be directed to that person, as well as any new conflicts that have come up to avoid when scheduling.

Information will be sent anytime between October and May via email to the student, parent, and school, in most cases at least two weeks before the job shadow is scheduled.  A text will be sent to students to alert them to check their email. Information will also be sent via postal mail to the student in a white envelope stamped with “Job Shadow Information” in red. 

Inclement Weather Policy

If your school is cancelled due to bad weather, your job shadow is cancelled. We will let you know if we can reschedule. If your school has a delayed start or early release due to weather during the time you are supposed to attend a shadow, do not attend the shadow and call Workplace Learning Connection at 319-398-1040 to let us know that you are not attending. 


Reschedule Policy

If a student has a schedule conflict and cannot attend their scheduled job shadow, it is the responsibility of the student to cancel online via their placement email or call Workplace Learning Connection at 319-393-1040. The student is responsible to ask to be rescheduled. A second placement depends on timing and host availability. There is no guarantee a job shadow can be rescheduled.