December 2021 Newsletter

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December 2021 Newsletter

The summer 2022 internship portal will be open from Dec. 13, 2021, through Feb. 11, 2022, for current high school sophomores and juniors. Internships are 45 – 90 hours in length and students may be able to earn high school credit.

The winter/spring 2022 job shadow application portal will be open from Jan. 3 – 28. High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors have the opportunity to explore a variety of careers and gain useful information about what it takes to succeed in different fields. Check back in January to see the broad scope of opportunities available.


How Can Students Go About Exploring Careers of Interest?Check out our WLC career speaker library, sign up for a job shadow, apply for an internship, earn college credit in high school, and volunteer in your field of interest.

“How can students begin exploring careers and figure out what they may be interested in doing after high school?” This is a common question we get from parents, educators, and even students themselves! To help answer this question, we have created an easy-to-read infographic that outlines a variety of ways students can explore their passions, careers of interest, and prepare for their future.

From taking a career assessment to attending a job shadow to earning college credit while in high school, there are so many resources available to help students explore. Please share this resource with the students in your life!

Partnering with Workplace Learning Connection to Support Workforce Development

Photo of students at JetAir for Aviation Day looking at a small airplane.

For the last 23 years, Kirkwood Community College’s Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) has been working to connect students and educators with local businesses and organizations in an effort to develop Iowa’s future workforce through relevant, quality work-based learning experiences. WLC work-based learning services inform, prepare, and better align local students to local careers.

Engaging in WLC job shadow, internship, and career event opportunities is a great way for businesses to address their current and future workforce needs. By providing job shadow and internship opportunities, businesses can develop relationships with potential future employees, creating a funnel for more qualified candidates down the road. In addition, in the short term, hosting an intern provides businesses the opportunity to bring in an extra set of hands, new ideas, and a student eager to help with projects. Supporting work-based learning gives your business the chance to increase student awareness of career opportunities within your business or industry sector.

“I’m committed to career exploration as a tool in workforce development because when we bring students, industry, and educators together, everyone benefits,” said Kate Robertson, economic development executive director for Benton Development Group. “Providing work-based learning opportunities wouldn't’t be possible without the partnership with Workplace Learning Connection. We can bring the local community and businesses to the table, but Workplace Learning Connection does the nuts-and-bolts work needed to place a student with a business, providing structure, information about insurance coverage, and a lot more. It’s a great partnership and one I look forward to strengthening. Iowa needs young people contributing to the success of our state, and one of the best ways to make that happen is to acquaint them with the great career choices they have near family, friends, and their home communities.”

By the Numbers

  • 92% of job shadow and internship students said their experience increased their awareness of local career opportunities
  • An average of 75% of job shadow and internship students said their experience positively influenced their decision to live and work in Iowa
  • 38% of school year 2020 – ‘21 interns were offered additional opportunities or employment by their business host post internship. A 31% increase over the prior year!

Businesses and industries across the state are struggling with workforce issues. Hosting internships and job shadows through Workplace Learning Connection is another vital and viable way to help address these workforce issues, providing both long- and short-term benefits.

WLC makes it easy to get involved in work-based learning and there are many ways to engage. To learn more about how you can help students discover their passions while developing your future workforce, please visit

Mid-Prairie Superintendent Values Opportunity to Bring Relevance to Classroom LearningHeadshot of Mark Schneider, superintendent of Mid-Prairie Community School District

Mark Schneider, superintendent of Mid-Prairie Community School District, is a longtime partner and supporter of Workplace Learning Connection and career exploration in high school. Mark understands the importance of helping students define their interests and of bringing relevance to classroom learning. “If you get students thinking about careers earlier in their high school career and can help them become focused on a specific area or field, I think it helps make high school classes more relevant to the students if they have an idea of what the purpose or end goal is of going through high school,” he said. “I always encourage students to do job shadows and internships. Career exploration experiences like these help better prepare students for what comes next. Yes, part of high school is the experience and being around friends and taking part in the activities, but we also have to remember the purpose of high school is to help prepare students for what comes next.”

On a personal level, Mark acknowledges how he wishes he could have had these types of experiences in high school. “I changed my major three times in college. Before I changed it to education, I was going to quit college and become a carpenter. I was in a state of flux until I figured out I wanted to go into education at the end of my sophomore year. I don’t know if I would have been any more prepared for college or not if I had these type of experiences, but it took me four and a half years to graduate and it might have only taken me four years if I could have done more exploration prior to college rather than once I got into college.” Defining a path of interest and figuring out what they want to do after high school can be very stressful for students. Having the opportunity to explore a variety of careers while in high school can help lessen that anxiety.

“Workplace Learning Connection and the Mid-Prairie Community School District have had a very positive relationship through the years, and I obviously hope it’s something that continues for many, many more years to come. I can’t thank the leadership and staff at Workplace Learning Connection enough for making positive things happen for Mid-Prairie students. I really do believe this partnership has created a difference in the lives of some of our students. I’m so appreciative of that.”

The team at Virginia Gay Hospital has been helping us provide career exploration experiences to area students for well over a decade. Job shadows, internships, speaker events — you name it, they have done it!

“Virginia Gay Hospital values our partnership with WLC and the ability to connect with the students in our community by providing meaningful and impactful learning experiences,” said Robin Martin, foundation director at Virginia Gay Hospital. “We love hosting and meeting the students who participate in job shadows and internships in our facility and their exploration of healthcare opportunities that may lead to a lifelong career.”

Interested in hosting a student and helping develop our future workforce? Visit our Partners and Volunteer page to learn more.

Virginia Gay Hospital Logo

Contact WLC

Linn County Regional Center
1770 Boyson Rd., Hiawatha, Iowa 52233
Phone: 319-398-1040  
Fax: 319-398-1041 

Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
2301 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville, Iowa 52241
Phone: 319-887-3970  
Fax: 319-358-3102