January 2024 Newsletter

January 2024 Newsletter

Reminder! The winter/spring 2024 job shadow application portal and the summer 2024 internship portal are now open!


Winter/Spring 2024 Job Shadow Portal — By the Numbers

Our winter/spring job shadow application portal is open through Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. There are so many job shadow options to choose from — over 60 different experiences across the six pathways.Photo of TV News and Weather Day

Job Shadow Opportunities by Pathway:

  • 10 job shadow opportunities in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource Careers
    • Explore jobs in agricultural research, agricultural sales, farming, conservation, agronomy, ag mechanics, agricultural and environmental engineering, veterinary medicine, and more!
  • 17 job shadow opportunities in Applied Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing
    • Explore a career as an architect, auto or heavy equipment mechanic, welder, pilot, engineer, construction manager, tower technician, and many more!
  • 7 job shadow opportunities in Business, Finance, Marketing, and Management
    • Explore a career as a marketing specialist, entrepreneur, supply chain manager, Web or graphic designer, project manager, and many more!
  • 10 job shadow opportunities in Health Sciences
    • Careers to explore in this pathway include nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, radiologic technology, EMT, surgical tech, physician assisting, medical lab tech, counseling or psychology, medical research, and more.
  • 22 job shadow opportunities in Human Services
    • Explore a career as a social worker, coach, baker, chef, teacher, educator, cosmetologist, EMT, special agent, police officer, 911 dispatcher, lawyer, photographer, human resource specialist, and many more!
  • 3 job shadow opportunities in Information Solutions
    • Explore jobs in marketing, graphic design, content writing, Web design, theater management, and various careers within the theater.

So far this school year, the top career requests have been in:

  • Nursing
  • Mental health
  • Education
  • Medical careers, including radiation sciences, physician/physician assistant, surgical tech
  • Physical therapy
  • Skilled trades

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

Students Who Earn College Credit in High School Are More Likely to Continue Training After High School

Each year, WLC places thousands of students in job shadows and hundreds of students in internships to help them explore future career opportunities, network with local employers, and learn about training opportunities to reach their goals. A key next step for students is participation in one of Kirkwood’s Career Academy programs, which are collections of courses in specific career areas. Participation in these programs allows students to earn not only high school credit but also college credit that can be used toward a future degree. While, on average, 25 percent of ninth through 12th grade students in our region participate in these college credit programs, 62 percent of WLC job shadow or internship participants are enrolled in college credit in high school (CCHS), highlighting the value of connecting real-world experiences to training opportunities.Photo of a WLC student at Junge Ford in North Liberty

This school year, WLC transitioned our internship program to being a college credit class. The transition helped create consistency for businesses, create consistent offerings for school districts, and jump-start students’ first experience with college courses. Recently, Kirkwood released a report highlighting the positive impact CCHS has on students’ postsecondary training. Across our region, 70 percent of graduates with CCHS enroll in a postsecondary institution compared to 43 percent of graduates without CCHS courses.

With the transition of the internship program to a college credit course, we are also being more intentional about providing in-depth work-based learning experiences for students enrolled in our regional center career academies. This winter, local businesses hosted students for a 32-hour internship between their fall and spring semester classes to get a preview of local talent currently training for a career in their industry.

  • Milex Complete Auto Care in Cedar Rapids partnered with the Linn County Regional Center Auto Tech Academy
  • Junge Automotive Group in Cedar Rapids partnered with the Linn County Regional Center Auto Tech Academy
  • Junge Ford in North Liberty partnered with the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa Auto Tech Academy
  • Boomerang Corporation in Anamosa partnered with the Jones County Regional Center Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Academy

If you are interested in learning more about partnering with Kirkwood Career Academies, contact Kristine Bullock at kristine.bullock@kirkwood.edu.

STEAM Institute: Exploring Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math

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, art, 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.Photo of students at Excelsior Middle School

Over the last two months, WLC has hosted over 5,000 students from 39 different middle schools for this event. Students explored how water tables work; tried out an auto paint simulator; learned how to install a window, properly use a stethoscope, and take a fingerprint; and so much more.

Eighty-five amazing local businesses stepped up to share their careers with our students, including 11 businesses who were first-time STEAM Institute participants! Ryan Bousselot, DVM, from Anamosa Veterinary Clinic, was a first-time STEAM Institute volunteer and said this about his experience: “I have always known I wanted to be a veterinarian. It’s great to share my passion for animal care with middle school students and help them potentially find their passion as well.”

We are honored to be able to provide this opportunity to area students. We couldn’t do it without our amazing partners!

Interested in getting involved next year? If so, reach out to Cheryl Valenta at cheryl.valenta@kirkwood.edu.

WLC Partner Spotlight

We have been partnering with Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity for almost 10 years! They have hosted 13 interns for us over the last year alone, helping students explore careers in construction while doing good in the community. We are so grateful for their partnership.

“Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity is proud to partner with WLC to give high school students the opportunity to connect with local contractors while building a Habitat home,” said Brittany Scanlon, executive director of Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity. “This internship provides hands-on technical education and aims to grow the base of skilled housing and building professionals in our community. Students are learning, having fun, and some participants have made connections to summer jobs and beyond. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

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

Workplace Learning Connection