November 2022 Newsletter

November 2022 Newsletter

The winter and spring 2023 internship application portal closed on Nov. 4 and we saw 116 students across our seven counties apply for an internship opportunity. We will be working on finding placements for students over the next several months. If your organization is interested in hosting an intern and helping a student explore careers in your industry, please reach out to Rochelle Sowers at for more information!

Newly Rebranded Career Discovery Tours Have an Awesome Inaugural Year

This year Workplace Learning Connection combined Advancing the Future and Project Lead the Way Tours and rebranded the opportunity as Workplace Learning Connection Career Discovery Tours. The tours were hosted by 24 businesses and organizations located in Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Linn, and Washington counties in early October. There were 450 students from 23 school groups who experienced more than 900 tours. They were able to hear directly from employees, see the operations and innovation happening, and learn about the great career opportunities available and type of education needed to get hired.

The middle and high school classes that participated are focused on manufacturing, industrial technology, engineering, architecture, or agriculture. Students discovered the products that local employers are creating, the services provided, the latest technology being used, and the important research being done.

These generous companies opened their doors and talked with students: ACP, Amana Farms, Barnes Manufacturing, Bazooka Farmstar, Centro, CIVCO Medical Solutions, Engineered Building Design, ESCO Group, Freund-Vector Corp., Frontier Co-Op, Heartland Goodwill Enterprises, IFP Motion Solutions, IIHR – University of Iowa Hydroscience & Engineering, Midwest Metal Products, Modern Companies, MSI Mold Builders, National Advanced Driving Simulator, Neumann Monson Architects, New Leader Manufacturing, Newell Machinery Co, Shive Hattery, Timberline Manufacturing, Williamsburg Manufacturing, and World Class Industries.


Another Iowa County High School Career Fair in the Books!

Earlier this month we hosted our annual Iowa County High School Career Fair at the Williamsburg Recreation Department. More than 345 students in grades 10 – 12 from Belle Plaine High School, English Valleys Jr/Sr High School, HLV High School, Iowa Valley Jr/Sr High School, and Williamsburg Jr/Sr High School attended the fair.

This event gives students the chance to explore a future in health care, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, veterinary medicine, and many other in-demand career fields. Representatives from over 20 area businesses participated in the career fair with the intention of making connections with talented teenagers from their local communities.Iowa County High School Career Fair

“The Iowa County Career Fair is a great opportunity for young people to learn about the fantastic employment opportunities in their own backyard,” says Sheriff Rob Rotter with the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office. “Local businesses have the opportunity to share their story with students and help keep local talent from looking elsewhere for employment.”

The career fair is one of the largest Iowa County events out of several events organized by WLC throughout the year meant to help students facing postsecondary planning decisions.

“The Iowa County Career Fair is such an exciting event,” says Workplace Learning Connection Director Kristine Bullock. “The fair gives students the opportunity to not only learn about different types of careers available, but also to open their eyes to all the amazing opportunities that are available right in Iowa County and the surrounding area. Businesses are excited to be involved because workforce shortages and pipeline development are top of mind for all industries right now. Getting in front of the next generation of workers is pivotal for continued success for these businesses.”

Business participants for the 2022 Iowa County Career Fair included Amana Society, Inc.; Axis Vision Care; Channel Seed; Compass Memorial Healthcare; Compass Memorial Hospital; Garling Construction, Inc.; Hietmann Insurance Services; Iowa County Sheriff’s Office; Iowa Mold & Engineering, Inc.; Just Automotive; Kinze Manufacturing, Inc.; Kirkwood Community College; Magna Body & Chassis Iowa; University of Iowa Radiation Sciences; Veterinary Medical Center; Williamsburg Dental Health Clinic; Williamsburg Manufacturing; and Williamsburg Police Department.


WLC Internship Provides Networking Opportunities and Leads to College Internship

Will Colony, a 2020 graduate from Regina, took advantage of numerous Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) programs while in high school. He knew his interest was in architecture, and he used job shadows and internships to confirm and solidify his post high school plans.Will Colony

Will first did Architecture and Engineering Day with Shive-Hattery in Iowa City through WLC in 2017, then completed an architectural internship with Shive-Hattery in the summer of 2018. The next year he did an architectural internship at Heery Design, a SLAM Studio. “Each experience was so different it didn’t feel like I was doing the same thing,” says Will. “If you have an idea of what field you are interested in, it is absolutely beneficial to do more than one job shadow or internship.”

Fast forward a few years and Will started attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Having these career exploration experiences in high school was really good for me,” says Will. “Architecture is one of those fields that it’s nice to know you want to go into early on, just because it’s hard to catch up if you get off track. So being able to go right into the architecture program my first year was very important and gave me a good head start to my education. I was able to kick that off early, and I already had an idea of what software was used and the quality of work that they look for out in the field and was able to apply that to school projects.”

Last winter when Will started making internship plans for the summer, he used the network he built through his internship to land a spot at Shive-Hattery.

“My former host was no longer there, but I was connected with the interior designer there on LinkedIn; we both went to the same high school. I reached out to her about who I would need to contact and she was very willing to help me. I was able to go back last summer for a college-level internship — a good example of why networking is important. Coming back, I was able to be even a little more hands on now that I am in college. I did some red lines, line work, got to model certain projects, and helped with markups and some field verification work.

“I appreciate the opportunities that Workplace Learning Connection gave me in high school,” Will continues. “I was able to make these connections and come back as a college intern and get all this great experience, which was definitely thanks to the connections I had through Workplace Learning Connection. It’s a really great program.”


Dental House of Washington has been so supportive of our programming this year. They recently hosted two job shadow students interested in dental health careers. Thank you, Dental House of Washington, for your support of work-based learning!

“The Dental House of Washington has been so great to work with this fall and we wanted to give them a special shout-out,” says Brittany Slaubaugh, business liaison for Workplace Learning Connection. “They have hosted two students for us and they are always such a joy to interact with. We are so appreciative of such great partners.”

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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