February 2023 Newsletter

February 2023 Newsletter

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Job Shadow Requests Grow 43 Percent Year Over Year

Big job shadow application numbers were recently posted as 601 students from 39 different high schools signed up for a job shadow during the month of January — across the entire school year, that's a 43 percent increase in job shadow requests and placements over last school year!A photo of two students at surgical tech day.

We are ecstatic to see this huge increase in demand from students for career exploration experiences. Our team is working tirelessly to place over 3,700 job shadows this school year across our seven counties.

One reason for the increased demand was the additional job shadow application portal we opened in November, with the hope of reaching more students. Students now had the opportunity to request up to three job shadows during the school year as opposed to just two previously. Sixty-five students took advantage of this opportunity and signed up for all three job shadows.

This increase in demand, and our ability to meet the needs of area students, wouldn’t be possible without the support of our educator partners, business volunteers, and parents. Our school contacts are huge advocates for our programming, helping students define and explore career interests. Our business partners make these experiences possible by volunteering their time to share their careers. Lastly, parents are huge influences on their students, encouraging them to take advantage of these opportunities.

We look forward to another great semester full of exploration, learning, discovery, and fun!


Summer Internship Hosts Needed

One of Workplace Learning Connection’s major service offerings is our internship program. High school students in grades 11 – 12 (ages 16 – 18) across our service area can apply for our internship program and gain real-world experience through supervised internships. Interns develop employability behaviors that prepare them for the workplace and gain insight that will help them make informed postsecondary choices. WLC helps coordinate placements for students based on their area of interest and helps prepare them to be successful in those internships. Students are able to earn high school credit for their experiences as well.Photo of a student at Bright Futures Chiropractic

The big problem facing WLC is that the demand for internships is greater than the number of businesses available to host these interns. WLC anticipates needing to find placements for over 225 students within the next 90 days in order to meet current demands for summer 2023 internships.

Hundreds of businesses across our region are involved in hosting high school interns. Is your business one of them? Hosting interns is a great way for businesses to address their current and future workforce needs.

Benefits of hosting a high school intern include:

  • Developing relationships with potential future employees, creating a funnel for more qualified candidates down the road
  • Bringing in an extra set of hands, new ideas, and a student eager to help with projects
  • Increasing student awareness of career opportunities within your business or industry sector
  • Helping build Iowa’s future workforce and having a direct influence on pipeline development

Impact by the Numbers – (2021 – ’22 academic year)

  • Approximately 41% of WLC interns were offered additional opportunities by their hosts following the completion of their internship hours
  • 91% of interns said it increased their awareness of local career opportunities
  • 86% of interns said their internship influenced their selection of career field
  • 63% of interns said it positively influenced their decision to live and work in Iowa

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 issues, providing both long- and short-term benefits for both parties.

WLC makes it easy to host an intern, and there are many ways to engage. If you’d like to learn more about how your business can get involved, please complete this brief interest survey and we will reach out.


Students Can Earn College Credit While in High School – FOR FREE!

Preparing and planning for life after high school is a key element of a student’s high school career. That’s why we want to make sure parents and students are aware that college credit can be earned for free while students are still in high school.Photo of a student during welding academy

One of the most popular ways this happens is through Kirkwood Community College’s Career Academy Programs. Career Academies are collections of courses focused on specific careers or areas of interest. Credits earned in academy courses count toward a student’s high school diploma AND their future college degree. Career Academies are offered at Kirkwood regional center locations. In addition, high school students are also able to participate in Kirkwood dual credit coursework onsite at their high school or online.

Whether a student plans to obtain a 4-year degree, 2-year degree, or specialized training after graduation, there are course options that can jump-start their post high school educational path.

“My experience in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Academy helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. It’s shown me what I can do and all the opportunities out there for me,” says Clear Creek Amana senior Ryan Humphrey. “The Kirkwood program has definitely set me up for a better future. I’ve been able to get all my college General Education credits out of the way while I am still in high school, saving me time and money.”

Students have access to these opportunities through the state’s Senior Year Plus (SYP) legislation enacted in 2008. SYP was created to provide increased and equal access to college credit courses, help bridge the gap between high school and college, and reduce student debt.

Why should high school students consider taking concurrent-credit courses?

  • Big Cost Savings. Students earn both high school and college credit at NO COST to them or their families! In the 2021 – ’22 school year, students in our seven county service region saved $8,056,590 in tuition costs and earned over 43,000 credit hours.
  • Gain real-world experience. Students experience hands-on, real-world scenarios, and in some academies, they can even earn industry-recognized certifications for immediate employment opportunities.
  • Greater Success. According to an Iowa State University study, students entering college with prior college credit:
  • Have higher grade point averages their first semester and year
  • Have higher graduation rates
  • Graduate in less time than students without prior college credit
  • Change majors less often than students without prior college credit


Interested in learning more about Career Academy Programs?

  • Interested students should first meet with their high school counselor to ensure they are eligible for CCHS programming and on track for meeting all high school coursework requirements.
  • Check out a list of Career Academy options and locations available.
  • Registration for the 2023 – ’24 academic year is now open!
  • Fill out this interest form and your local regional center coordinator will reach out to discuss all the opportunities available.

We have been partnering with University of Iowa Driving Safety Research Institute, formerly the National Advanced Driving Simulator, for well over 12 years to help students explore careers in engineering. They have hosted over 50 interns, numerous job shadows, and volunteered for dozens of events. We don’t know what we would do without them!

“Working with Workplace Learning Connection by interviewing and hosting interns, hosting job shadows, and participating in other events keeps us engaged with students interested in our field. There is no better way to meet the next generation of colleagues!” says Dawn Marshall, research manager for The University of Iowa Driving Safety Research Institute.

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


Logo of Iowa Driving Safety Research Institute