January 2023 Newsletter

January 2023 Newsletter

Reminder! The winter/spring 2023 job shadow application portal and the summer 2023 internship portal are now open!


Winter/Spring 2023 Job Shadow Portal — By the Numbers

Job Shadow student tries out a simulatorOur winter/spring job shadow application portal is open now through Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. There are so many job shadow options to choose from — over 80 different experiences across the six pathways.

Job Shadow Opportunities by Pathway:

  • 13 job shadow opportunities in Agriculture, Food, or Natural Resource Careers
    Explore jobs in agricultural research, agricultural sales, conservation, agronomy, environmental engineering, veterinary medicine, and more.
  • 19 job shadow opportunities in Applied Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing
    Explore a career as an architect, auto mechanic, pilot, biomedical engineer, construction manager, software engineer, and many more.
  • 9 job shadow opportunities in Business, Finance, Marketing, and Management
    Explore a career as a loan officer, marketing specialist, entrepreneur, event planner, graphic designer, project manager, and others.
  • 16 job shadow opportunities in Health Sciences
    Career areas to explore in this pathway include nursing, physical therapy, radiologic technology, emergency medical technology, pathology, physician assisting, research and many more.
  • 30 job shadow opportunities in Human Services
    Explore a career as a social worker, coach, baker, chef, teacher or other educator, cosmetologist, EMT, special agent, police officer, lawyer, photographer, and many more.
  • 10 job shadow opportunities in Information Solutions
    Explore jobs in software development, digital media management, IT security, AI/robotics, information technology, Web coding, video production, interpreting and translating, and so much more.

Check out all the winter/spring job shadow opportunities by visiting our job shadow page!


STEAM Institute: Expanding STEAM Career Awareness

Workplace Learning Connection’s STEAM Institute had another exciting and successful year. STEAM Institute gives area seventh grade students the opportunity to explore careers and pathways within the STEAM fields — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Through engaging, hands-on presentations led by area professionals, students are able to explore career fields, get a glimpse into the world of work, explore local opportunities, connect classroom learning to real-world jobs, and start the conversation about career self-discovery.

Trees ForeverOver the last two months, WLC has hosted three STEAM Institute events: one in Johnson County, one in Linn County, and the second annual STEAM Institute event in Washington County. Nearly 5,000 students from 43 different middle schools participated in these events. Students got to do such things as explore how water tables work, drive a vehicle simulator, learn how to install a window, how to properly use a stethoscope, how to take a fingerprint, and so much more.

We are honored to be able to provide this opportunity to area students. Thank you to the over 80 amazing local businesses who stepped up to share their careers with our students. One business volunteer, Kelsey Bigelow of Kelsey Bigelow Poetry, said, “The best part was watching the real-time impact on a handful of the students. I got to watch them let my lesson sink in, and I got to see some of them feel safe enough to express their own thoughts and feelings. That’s something I will carry with me forever.”

We couldn’t offer this event without our amazing volunteers! Interested in getting involved next year? If so, reach out to Cheryl Valenta at cheryl.valenta@kirkwood.edu.


Hard Work Pays Off: West High Student Earns Full Ride to Boston University

Mayasa Hamid (West High), a past WLC intern and job shadow participant, visited us last month to share HUGE NEWS! She has earned a full ride to Boston University through the program QuestBridge. As described on their site, QuestBridge is a national nonprofit that connects the nation’s most exceptional low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities. By working with these students — in high school through college to their first job — QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented low-income students attending the nation’s best colleges and to support them to achieve success in their careers and communities.

photo of Mayasa Hamid from West HighWe featured Mayasa in a story last year. Mayasa plans to attend Boston University in the fall and major in biomedical sciences. She plans to become a heart surgeon.

Mayasa has been a dedicated, hard worker during high school. She has completed five WLC job shadows and a WLC internship as a nursing aide at Grand Living at Bridgewater in Coralville. She also takes College Credit in High School classes at the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa. She has taken Medical Terminology, Explorations of Healthcare, a CNA course (and passed the state exam), Human Biology, Principles of Management, Anatomy and Physiology, and Nutrition. Next semester she plans to take A&P 2 and Orals of Communication all while remaining heavily involved in West High’s Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) chapter where she served as president last year.

What advice does Mayasa have for other students working hard to chase their dream? “Sit down and have a real talk with yourself,” she says. “What do YOU really want to do? Are you willing to work hard to get there? How bad do you really want it? If you can answer these three questions confidently, then may your dreams become your reality. I wish all success for you!”

We are extremely proud of Mayasa and the inspiration she can be to other students at West High and in our community.


Frontier Co-op has been partnering with Workplace Learning Connection for well over 12 years, helping students explore careers in the sciences and manufacturing. They host several Chemistry, Microbiology, and Consumer Product Testing job shadow days each year, along with being actively involved in speaker days, career fairs, worksite tours, and more! We are so fortunate to have such a great local partner who is doing amazing work right here in Iowa and who is such an advocate for career exploration.

“It is important for students to get real-world experience in their field of interest to see what a workplace is like,” says Alex Ockenfels, Frontier Co-op’s analytical lab manager. “Working with Workplace Learning Connection is a great way for us to get paired with students who are interested in the different sciences we work with every day.”

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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