December 2023 Newsletter

December 2023 Newsletter

The summer 2024 internship portal will be open from Dec. 18, 2023, through Feb. 9, 2024, for current high school sophomores and juniors. Students who participate in the internship program earn dual credit through Kirkwood Community College and their local high school.

The Portal III (January) job shadow application window will be open from Jan. 8 – 26. High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors will 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.


Jozsef Polyak, Regina High School

Hear from Jozsef Polyak, a Regina High School student, about his career exploration experiences with Workplace Learning Connection and the value of his WLC internship with Team Iowa Physical Therapy!

Student Testimonial Jozsef Polyak


Where Are They Now? From an Intern to a Full-Time Stylist

Reaghan Aggson graduated from Mid-Prairie High School in 2021. Prior to graduating, Reaghan completed two job shadows and two internships with Workplace Learning Connection. She knew she wanted a career where she could help people, so she started exploring careers through job shadowing. She found cosmetology and completed two cosmetology internships through WLC. One of the salons she interned at (Hairitage in Wellman) is where she now works full time. Check out the interview below to learn how her WLC career exploration experiences impacted her career path.

Reaghan Aggson at work as a full-time stylistWhat impact did your job shadow and internship experiences have on you?
I thought signing up for job shadows and internships would be a great way to utilize the resources that my school provided to find the perfect career path for me. My job shadows and internships impacted my life by opening new doors I didn’t know were out there. They allowed me to explore fields I had never been introduced to and showed me different possibilities in my life than following the status quo.

Did your experiences help you decide what you wanted to do after high school? Did they influence your studies or future college and career plans?
My experiences with WLC definitely influenced my path after high school. I always knew I wanted to help someone in some way but didn't know how. I shadowed an athletic trainer and quickly decided that was probably not the best occupation for me. I then tried a job shadow for teaching but wasn't quite sure if I liked the schedule. Then I signed up for my internship with Hairitage and I fell in love with the cosmetology industry. I attended PCI Academy and I am now back at Hairitage!

How did your internship at Hairitage lead to your current full-time role at the salon?
It allowed me to learn the owner’s personality and determine if this was a work environment that I would like to be a part of. There are so many different ways that a salon can be structured, and to find one that meets all your values is hard. While I am my own boss and rent space from Shelby, it is a wonderful bonus that our personalities align to create a great atmosphere for our guests. Shelby has been a wonderful mentor since day one and has always supported me and helped me grow to the person I am today.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is being able to make someone’s day. I love when they come in gloomy or need to talk about something that’s been on their mind and they leave smiling. It warms my heart and reminds me that something so small to me can be something bigger to someone else.

From your perspective, is career exploration and workforce preparation an important part of a high school student’s educational journey?
It is very important to explore different career paths and figure out what you want your life to look like after high school. Sometimes the career you always dreamed of doesn’t work out for you. For example, I always thought I wanted to go into the medical field, and after further investigation with my job shadows, I decided that career path was not for me.

What is a favorite memory you have from one of your job shadows or internships?
When I was interning at Eden Salon & Spa, I was completing the questions for my workbook with my host and asked the host the question, “What jobs did you have growing up?” Kailee Seward responded by saying, “I worked at Kid’s Country Club (a daycare in Kalona), and that’s how I got my first daughter Raeghan’s name, because there was a smiley little girl with that name.” What we didn't know at first, but now do, is that I was that smiley little girl Kailee watched at the daycare. It felt like a full-circle moment and it was super fun to connect to more stylists in our community.

Why should high school students consider exploring careers through job shadows and internships while in high school?
Doing a job shadow or internship is like buying your first car. You’re able to test drive the car before you pour your time and money into something you aren’t really sure about. The cost of your education is going up, so you might as well check it out while it’s free. It’s also a great way to make more connections and get your name out in the community.


Student Editorial: Utilizing My Internship to Influence My Future 

My name is Halle Hazelett and I am a senior at Highland High School. Through my internship I have become more confident in my plans to major in Pharmacy at the University of Iowa. I want to pursue a career as a pharmacist, although I plan on job shadowing various types to decide on a specialty. I have wanted to pursue this career after having experienced chemistry as a class at my high school during my junior year. Since then, I have had experiences to solidify my dream and plans. One of the most notable experiences was this internship through Workplace Learning Connection.

Halle Hazelett internship at Pharmacy at the University of IowaI knew that being a pharmacist greatly interested me, but I wanted to experience the real-world tasks the career entails. I found out that Workplace Learning Connection had many opportunities involving pharmacy. Originally, I had wanted to intern fairly close to where I live in a clinic or hospital setting. However, there was little availability in my first choice, but due to that “obstacle” I was able to open my eyes to more opportunities. I was instead placed in a retail pharmacy where I experienced a great sense of community and teamwork. I was able to work one on one with many of my co-workers. I was able to learn how to work in a pharmacy and feel very responsible and capable of various tasks. My internship was very hands-on. I was allowed to help fill prescriptions, log immunization records, track inventory, and learn about the purpose of different medications. My hosts made me feel included and helpful. They challenged me in different pharmaceutical tasks.

Now that I have done my internship, I feel much more prepared in terms of understanding how a pharmacy works and my skill set. I also know that in doing this internship, I have another addition for my resumes and applications for college, scholarships, and future jobs.

Through this opportunity I have been able to meet many people and network with people that I could utilize as a resource for recommendations. I am incredibly grateful for my hosts and WLC for their support and help in furthering my education and career search. To anyone that is on the fence about doing an internship, take the leap. It is an incredibly rewarding experience that will not only help you to explore careers but also to network and form connections with influential people.


WLC Partner Spotlight

This month we want to highlight a new Iowa County partner — Belland Construction, Plumbing & Heating. Belland is hosting a plumbing and heating intern for us this fall and has participated in our career fair events as well. We are so excited to have them on board as a new partner, as we have a lot of students interested in learning more about the trades.

“Partnering with WLC has been rewarding for Belland,” says Belland employee Laurynn King. “Not only have we been able to meet the great youth in our community, but we’ve also been able to introduce them to our specialized trades and give them hands-on experience. Our most recent intern has been fantastic and plans to continue with HVAC and plumbing trades after high school.”

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

Workplace Learning Connection