December 2022 Newsletter

December 2022 Newsletter

The summer 2023 internship portal will be open from December 12 through February 10 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 2023 job shadow application portal will be open Jan. 2 – 27. 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 in a short two- to four-hour experience. Check back in January to see the broad scope of opportunities available.

Kennedy High School Student Finds Success in Male-dominated Industry

Keira Zortman, a Kennedy High School student, used her summer to explore a career of interest and gained a ton of experience. Keira completed a WLC internship as a diesel truck and heavy equipment repair intern with the Linn County Engineering and Secondary Road Department. Check out our Q&A with Keira below.Photo of Keira Zortman, working on diesel truck equipment

What are some of the things you got to do as part of your internship, and what was your favorite part?
Keira: I got to help pull an engine on a big piece of equipment to fix one of the pistons. It was a big project. I also did a lot of pickup truck work like oil changes, tire changes, brake changes. Both of those have been my favorite. I just love figuring stuff out.

Why did you sign up for an internship through Workplace Learning Connection?
Keira: I wanted to figure out if I might want to be a diesel mechanic.

What drew you to this career field?
Keira: I like working on cars. My grandpa recently gave me two very old cars to restore, a Honda 600 and a convertible Skyline hardtop, and I am looking forward to starting on that.

How do you feel about being a female in a male-dominated industry?
Keira: It doesn’t bug me at all. I honestly like it because I can do something that most people don’t think I can. It’s a very good feeling.

What did you discover as part of your internship experience?
Keira: This field takes a lot of problem-solving and it can take time to figure out what’s going on, but it is also really fun at the same time. I also figured out the path I have to take to get a career in this field. Through my internship I confirmed I want a career in this field, either on the bigger-engine side or on the car mechanic side; I’m not sure yet. So I got in-shop experience at the same time as figuring out what I want to do after high school. It’s been awesome.

Why should other students consider doing an internship through Workplace Learning Connection?
Keira: It gives you a lot of information about the work environment and the career before you actually do it outside of high school. And you learn a lot in the 45 or 95 hours.

Annual WLC Health Care Expo Expands!

Workplace Learning Connection’s annual Health Care Expo was held last month at Kirkwood Community College’s Linn County Regional Center. The Health Care Expo is a large interactive career fair where we bring in area healthcare professionals from many different organizations and specialties, and students within the Patient Care Academy are able to go table to table, learning more about each career. The event has been a great opportunity for these academy students to network and learn about a variety of career paths in the healthcare field.Two students participating in the WLC Health Care Expo

This year we added a second component to the event, which we called the Patient Care Showcase, and invited students from area high schools — Alburnett, Linn-Mar, Marion, Marion Home School, Metro, and Xavier — to join us. These students are potentially interested in a career in healthcare and/or are interested in potentially joining the Patient Care Academy next year. These students had the opportunity to talk to the industry professionals and tour our Patient Care Academy classrooms. The goal was to learn about careers, find one or two that they were interested in, and learn about the classes we offer at the regional center that could help them get on the path to that career.

“I really enjoyed my time at the expo and I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the type of healthcare careers there are,” said Hailey Smith from Alburnett High School. “There were also some pretty neat speakers who had great personalities. Thank you for this opportunity.”

The need for this expanded showcase came out of a discussion between WLC and the Linn County Regional College Credit in High School team. “We received such positive feedback about this event,” said Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center Director Mindy Thornton. “School partners, current students, future students, and industry representatives commented on how engaging it was. It was very cool to see the integration of theory and hands-on learning from the academy classroom correlate to future jobs and opportunities available at local businesses. Events like this help students connect the dots and experience the way we integrate work-based learning into the Career Academy classroom to better prepare for their future. Engagement and hands-on learning is a win-win scenario for students and business!”

In total, 22 businesses participated in the event and 158 students attended the Health Care Expo. We look forward to continuing to grow this event in the future!

How Can Students Explore Careers of Interest?

Check out our career speaker library, sign up for job shadows, apply for internships, earn college credit in high school, and volunteer/get a part-time job in your field of interest.“How can my student(s) 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 and educators, and even students wonder how they can explore careers. To help answer this question, we 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!

UnityPoint Health Jones Regional Medical Center is such a valuable WLC partner, helping students explore the wide range of careers available in healthcare. Earlier this fall they hosted a Health Care Careers and Sim Lab Experience for 24 students from eight different high schools. Students learned about careers in nursing, radiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, laboratory sciences, and emergency medicine services. Thank you, UnityPoint Jones Regional Medical Center, for your support of work-based learning!

“It is through career exploration and working directly with professionals in the field that students get the opportunity to see examples of the day-to-day tasks that are being done and ask questions related to the joys and tribulations of both the education required and the job itself,” said Jolene Kramer, human resource manager at UnityPoint Health Jones Regional Medical Center.

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

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