November 2023 Newsletter

November 2023 Newsletter

The second semester internship application portal closed on Nov. 3 and we saw 150 students 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 a high school intern and helping a student explore careers in your industry, please reach out to Rochelle Sowers at for more information!


Introducing Our New Job Shadow and Internship Video!

We are super excited to share our new Workplace Learning Connection job shadow and internship video! We spent over a year working on this project, filming students across all seven counties. A huge thanks to Kirkwood Media for pulling together such a great video, and thank you to our business hosts and students for sharing their experiences.

We look forward to using this video to promote our programs to students, parents and educators! 

Explore Careers and Get Ahead of the Game!


Career Exploration in Middle School Sets Students Up for Success in High School

In addition to our strong high school programming, including our Job Shadow and Internship programs, we also provide robust career exploration opportunities for middle schools. We believe it is vitally important to introduce students to a wide array of career opportunities before they reach high school. Career exploration opens students' eyes to all the different career fields available, and helps them connect what they are learning in the classroom with skill sets needed in the working world.

We don’t expect middle school students to know what they want to do when they grow up, but we want to help them start thinking about where their interests and skills may lie. If students can identify areas of interest now, they can start planning their high school courses around those interest areas. It can often also motivate students in school, and reduce anxiety, when they have an idea of a career they may be working toward.

North Liberty PoliceThis fall alone we have many middle-school-targeted events such as our Career Speaker Days, our annual Career Discovery Tours, and STEAM Institute.

As part of our Career Speaker Days we bring area professionals into the classroom to share their career field with fifth and sixth grade students. Presenters share what a day in their life looks like, the loves and challenges of their role, the training and education needed, and so much more. This fall we will be coordinating nine interactive career speaker events, reaching over 1,200 students.

One of the interactive Career Speaker Day events we hosted in October was for sixth grade students at Taft Middle School. Counselors Rick Hemann and Alice Kitterman thought it was a wonderful experience and shared similar thoughts in their feedback.

"We feel it is important to expose students to careers because it provides information. When we have people from real jobs talking to students about careers, it is very powerful. It is real information, in real time, not a counselor or teacher telling them what they have read about a job. The staff at Workplace Learning Connection is amazing to work with and makes it easy to provide these opportunities. WLC reaches out to community businesses and invites them to the school and to share their career experiences with our students,” says Rick Hemann.

Also in October we coordinated our Career Discovery Tours where we worked with 29 businesses and organizations to open their doors to area middle and high school students. Over 375 middle school students alone participated in the tours. They were able to hear directly from employees, see the operations and innovation happening, and learn about the great career opportunities available and the type of education needed to get hired.

In addition, starting next week we will kick off STEAM Institute 2023. 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, and connect classroom learning to real-world jobs.

Last but not least, in the spring we host one of our biggest events of the year, our Financial Literacy Fairs (FLFs) for eighth grade students. In addition to being made aware of the wide variety of careers available, it is important that students start to understand the importance of money management and financial literacy. FLFs gives students the opportunity to understand how much things cost and how much money they may expect to make in their career of interest. This event is often one of the most eye-opening experiences for students.

Our goal with our comprehensive middle school programming is to help students start the conversation about career interests and exploration, provide them a basis of understanding of what a future in that career could look like, and how they can get there. 


New Military Careers Day

Last week we celebrated Veterans Day, and in honor of that we are excited to share that last month we hosted a new Military Careers Day! The Air Force, Army, Marines and National Guard all participated in this event. Twenty-seven students got to hear from each branch and learn about the variety of careers within the military. Often when people hear “military” they think solely about combat careers, but there are so many different opportunities available. “It is important to speak to students so that they understand the importance of the military and to dispel some of the myths surrounding the military,” says Sgt. First Class M.T. Bostic, United States Army. “It is helpful for them to see who we are as people, outside the uniform. They can then see themselves in us. A lot of students automatically think of combat when they think of the military, but combat careers are only a portion of those who work in the military. Students are always surprised to learn that we have medical careers, welding careers, finance careers and so much more. This is a very diverse organization, not only in its people but in its opportunities.” Meghan – New Team Member

Built not as a recruitment event but as a career exploration event, students were able to make connections and understand how careers in the military can lead to a huge array of opportunities. “Military careers have some great benefits that come with it such as getting your college paid for, getting experience, gaining discipline, being part of a team," says Sgt. Rodrigo Ramos of the National Guard. "It is a great avenue to explore and get the experience and build a resume through the military.”

One student had this to say about the experience: “The job shadow event was informative and was a good way to get to know the different branches of the military. I now have a clear answer on which branch I’d like to learn more about and eventually hopefully go into.”

This career exploration day was created after listening to our stakeholders (educators and students) that they would like to see career exploration opportunities specific to the military, something we hadn’t offered in the past. This year we plan to host a Military Careers Day in the fall in Linn County and in the spring in Johnson County.


WLC Partner Spotlight - Bio::Neos, Inc.

Over the last 10 years, Bio::Neos has hosted 12 software development interns and over 100 job shadow students for WLC, helping students explore careers in IT, programming and software development. This summer alone they hosted five interns! Software development is a high-demand request area so we are incredibly grateful for Bio::Neos’ support. Bio::Neos is actively engaged in our Speaker Day events as well.

"We believe it is imperative that we do everything we can to help build our local community and future workforce," says Steven Davis, president and co-founder of Bio::Neos. "Because of this, it is a no-brainer for us to participate with WLC as they provide opportunities to students that help them explore careers and learn about industries. WLC makes it super easy to give back to our community by spending our time with students and trying to ignite a spark in them just like the ones that got so many of us into this industry in the first place!"

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

Workplace Learning Connection