May 2022 Newsletter

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May 2022 Newsletter

Partners, educators, and parents — THANK YOU for another great school year. We are so appreciative of your support and advocacy in our work to connect today’s students to tomorrow’s careers. We look forward to collaborating with you next year and continuing to make a difference in the lives of our students!


Work-Based Learning Coordinator Role Expands Opportunities in Year One

Last fall we introduced a new work-based learning coordinator role on our team, with the goal of expanding our support of the Kirkwood Career Academy students and their educators by providing access to even more quality work-based learning opportunities.

Through the Academy programs students gain knowledge, experience, and skills that will put them ahead of the curve. Our goal is to help coordinate more work-based learning experiences to supplement what they are learning in the classroom to help take them to their next level.Additional opportunities for academy students

With a WLC team member focused heavily on building out these opportunities, we strove to be able to accomplish one work-based learning event for each academy, at each regional center, every semester. The partnerships we have been able to expand and develop with academy instructors this year have been wonderful, and we look forward to a lot of future collaboration.

On the business side of things, coordinating events for these classes has allowed us to make new connections with businesses we haven’t worked with in the past. In the second semester alone we’ve been able to make connections with eight new community businesses or professionals who are excited about getting involved in all WLC offerings.

2021 – ’22 School Year by the Numbers

  • WLC coordinated 47 work-based learning events for Kirkwood Academy students. These included worksite exploratory events (tours), career speakers, career fairs, mock interviews, and more.
  • That equates to 739 individual work-based learning experiences that were provided for academy students.

“I have loved growing into the role of work-based learning coordinator,” says Megan Lehman, who stepped into this new role last fall. “I’ve been able to share with new community members the awesome programming we’re doing, draw in new businesses, and help get students excited about the future. I love when we can bring new businesses and community members into the fold. The more people who know about what we do, the more students’ lives we can help impact for the future!”


Student Combines Internship with Iowa BIG Work

Mariah DeWulf, a soon-to-be Kennedy High School graduate, an Iowa BIG student, and a former Workplace Learning Connection Internship Program student, combined her experiences at Workplace Learning Connection and Iowa BIG to make a difference.Intern at Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

Last fall Mariah completed a Workplace Learning Connection internship with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance (CRMEA) as a communications, events, and promotions intern. In a planning meeting, Mariah suggested having students at Iowa BIG collaborate with the CRMEA team to take over filming of the segments for their Good Morning Cedar Rapids program, saving them $17,000 a year in film production costs. The team jumped on this idea and the collaboration has since taken off.

“That was absolutely my favorite moment from my internship experience,” Mariah says. “Being able to help make an impact and take what I do at Iowa BIG, blend those skills, bring other students into it, and give them an opportunity to get experience with interview skills, communication, networking, and video production — that was awesome.”

Mariah’s internship with CRMEA was actually her second Workplace Learning Connection internship. Her first, which focused on business management, helped her develop a lot of professional skills but ended up not being the career path she was looking for. She didn’t let that stop her career exploration journey.

“My Workplace Learning Connection internship coordinator, Ann Brendes, really listened to my experience, understood my skills and my interest, and suggested the second internship. I was super excited to have another chance in the internship program. It ended up being such a positive experience and helped me find out before I enter college what business field I want to go into,” Mariah says.

Mariah plans to enter the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business in the fall. We know without a doubt she will go on to do big things.


Student Editorial: My Internship Experience — Jaden Schmid, Highland High School

As I drove to Wellman for the first day of my internship at Pharmacy on 8th, I thought about how the experience would be fairly intense, consisting of a rigorous internship learning program. Very quickly I realized that everyone at Pharmacy on 8th was approachable and friendly. The atmosphere was quite relaxed. From the start I learned that the workload was more than just counting pills and giving prescriptions. Everyone was passionate about pharmacy and helping the community. Making a positive impact in everyone’s lives seemed to be their main goal.

As a student, my initial aims and goals were pretty broad and general. I was not too sure of what to expect or the type of work that I would be doing. But overall, I wanted to gain work experience and learn more about pharmacy as a job and if it was the right fit for me.Jaden Schmid

My position title while at the pharmacy was pharmacy technician. I learned all sorts of things, such as stocking new medications, filling prescriptions, and making sure everything was accurate and precise for each customer who obtained their medication. I worked alongside other pharmacy techs and pharmacists who were very nice and knowledgeable for every single question I asked while at the pharmacy. Something that surprised me most about this internship was how the other pharmacy technicians were all around my same age range. It was very comforting to know that even though I was the new guy, I still fit in pretty well among my peers.

In conclusion, I learned a lot not only about what it is like to work in a pharmacy, but also about myself and what I would like in a job after college. I am so grateful for the experience and knowledge I gained while at the pharmacy and for all the positive interactions I had with co-workers and customers. Reflecting back, an important takeaway I learned about myself is that I need a job where I can physically move more than what a career as a pharmacy technician may offer. I have shifted my potential career interests to being a registered nurse or a physician assistant. I want to help people live better lives. Being a pharmacist is not my path, and that is OK. I appreciate figuring that out now while I am still in high school.

This month WLC is recognizing Price Electric in our Partner Spotlight. Price Electric has been a pivotal partner in helping students explore the trades. They host interns, job shadow students, and participate in almost every type of event we offer: mock interviews, speaker days, career fairs, and more! Thank you, Price Electric, for your support of work-based learning!

“Price Electric has worked with Workplace Learning Connection for years to introduce the trades to local high school students,” says Dan Weekley, safety officer at Price Electric. “The program is an excellent way to show students the opportunities and career paths available to those who want to attend college, and those that want to get to work on their future.”

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

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