November 2021 Newsletter

[[Element: ]]

November 2021 Newsletter

Providing work-based learning experiences and engaging with area youth is a viable and vital solution to Iowa’s current and future workforce issues. Interested in getting your organization involved? Visit our Partners & Volunteer page to learn more.


Solon Superintendent Understands Value of Workplace Learning Connection Experienceskirkwood-wlc-news-nov-2021-dr-eidahl.jpg

Davis Eidahl, Ph.D., superintendent of the Solon Community School District, is an avid supporter of Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) and career exploration for students while they are in high school.

“Workplace Learning Connection has been a great partner for us. Individual career and academic planning is a big part of our strategic plan, and we have a lot of priorities and goals at the high school. Workplace Learning Connection has been a part of meeting those goals,” says Eidahl. “The partnership [with WLC] has provided kids [with] experiences that we necessarily can’t provide them within the school day and the normal classroom. Career exploration has helped us bring some relevance to many of our content areas and the ability to connect those to careers and to various pathways. We appreciate that connection.”

Providing the opportunity to explore careers helps students validate career paths of interest and, just as importantly, help them understand what they don’t want to do and open their eyes to new opportunities. “Providing these opportunities early and often is important,” said Eidahl. “We work with Workplace Learning Connection across grade levels, even as early as middle school. The more we can expose kids [to] and give them relevant experiences outside the classroom, the more interest we can generate.”

Clear Creek Amana Student Encourages More Females to Consider the Trades


Kassidy Harrison, a Clear Creek Amana senior, is currently completing an electrician internship with Cobra Electric through Workplace Learning Connection. Through the experience, she has already learned how to run wires through a house and do outlet work (her favorite part), lighting work, and fire alarm work. “Everything I do in my internship is hands on,” said Harrison. “I have so much more confidence in myself now. At first I was worried the internship would be hard, but now it is just fun. And I think I am pretty good at it so far. I have made some good connections and good friends through my internship. A lot of kids at my school know I am doing this, and [when] they ask me, I say, ‘Absolutely do it.’ The experience helps you know what a job is like. If it turns out you don’t like that career, try something else.”

Harrison is also part of the Architecture, Construction, & Engineering (ACE) Academy at the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, earning college credit while she is still in high school. Even though she is the only girl in her class, she is not letting that slow her down. “I tend to like to work by myself, but being in the ACE Academy has been great for meeting other students and learning teamwork in general. It has helped bring me out of my comfort zone,” says Harrison.

When asked what she would say to other females considering exploring the trades, she has this to say: “Do it! Some girls might be worried the guys are going to be mean, but they are honestly some of the nicest people I have met. You’re always going to have people questioning your choice, but I am just as good as the boys.”

As for what she plans to do after she graduates in May, Harrison says, “I plan to either do two years at Kirkwood in Construction Management or another ACE field, or go straight into an apprenticeship. Either way, I feel very prepared.”

Do you know a current high school sophomore or junior interested in exploring the trades? The summer 2022 internship portal will be open between Dec. 13, 2021, and Feb. 11, 2022, at 3 p.m.

Career Inspire Helps Students Explore Careers

Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa in collaboration with Workplace Learning Connection and ICR Future hosted their first Career Inspire event at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids in October. The event gave over 1,000 ninth-grade students from 11 area high schools the opportunity to learn about careers from hundreds of local industry professionals.
Career Inspire was more than a career fair; in-class sessions presented by students’ teachers were supplemented with engaging activities. During the expo, students got the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities, often using tools used on the job. The goal of the event was to bring the business community and local schools together to help prepare and launch students into their futures beyond high school, whether that be college, a technical school, or directly into a career.
After participating in the program, students:

  • Had a better understanding of their career interest area, skills, and passions.
  • Were able to identify next steps needed to be successful in their career of interest.
  • Implemented job-hunting tools, such as networking, resume building, and interviewing skills.
    This event was also a great opportunity for area businesses and organizations to participate in building Iowa’s future workforce and develop opportunity awareness with students. We are grateful to all the volunteers who showed up to share their career field!

We want to thank Tipton Veterinary Services for their continued support of WLC and work-based learning. Tipton Veterinary Services is hosting three job shadows this fall, helping students explore careers within veterinary medicine.

“We are so appreciative of the support we have received from Tipton Veterinary Services over the years,” says Brittany Slaubaugh, WLC Cedar County business liaison. “Their team understands the importance of providing these career exploration experiences to students. Getting a firsthand glimpse of what a career entails, especially a career like veterinary medicine, is so important for these students. It is easy to say you are interested in becoming a vet or vet tech, but until you actually see that role firsthand, it is hard to know if that truly is the career path for you.”

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


Contact WLC

Linn County Regional Center
1770 Boyson Rd., Hiawatha, Iowa 52233
Phone: 319-398-1040  
Fax: 319-398-1041 

Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
2301 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville, Iowa 52241
Phone: 319-887-3970  
Fax: 319-358-3102