October 2021 Newsletter

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October 2021 Newsletter

The winter and spring 2022 internship application portal is NOW OPEN! This opportunity to gain experience, make connections, and get ahead of the curve is open to all 11th and 12th grade students. Internships are 45 to 90 hours in length and students may be able to earn high school credit. Learn more.


Fall 2021 Job Shadow Portal Closes with Big Numbers!Kirkwood Community College, Workplace Learning Connection logo

Sept. 24 marked the close of our school year 2021–'22 fall job shadow portal. We had 1,873 students, from 47 different high schools sign-up for job shadows. This represents an 81% increase in job shadow requests over last year!

The most popular shadow request areas were in healthcare, engineering, veterinary medicine, and mental health fields. Other popular jobs of interest included: EMT, interior designer, welder, real estate agent, attorney and police officer.

We are excited to have more in-person shadows back this year; virtual options also continue to be available. Virtual experiences allow WLC to safely, equitably, and cost effectively offer career exploration experiences while expanding our reach. Virtual experiences eliminate transportation and schedule barriers that some students may experience. Going virtual has also allowed more students to take advantage of high-interest career areas where capacity has historically been limited. 

WLC Welcomes Three New Team Members

We are pleased to introduce three new team members who recently joined WLC: Casey Estling, Janie Evans, and Megan Lehman. We are excited to have these new teammates on board as we continue to expand the work we do and the number of students we are able to positively impact!

Image of three new staff at WLC, Casey Estling, Janette Evans, and Mehan Lehman.

Casey Estling, Business Liaison – Casey joined the team as a business liaison supporting Linn County schools. His focus is on working with businesses and organizations in the human services and healthcare pathways. Casey comes to us from World Class Industries where he was a supply chain specialist. He is excited to help students explore careers and discover their passions. “Having struggled with this topic for much of my own life, I feel like the more career opportunities a student is able to experience, the better prepared they will be to find something they are passionate about and a career they will be engaged in,” says Casey. “Every experience is vital for each student because it may help them understand what they find interesting, in addition to discovering what they don’t want to do.”

In his free time, Casey loves spending time with his wife and four children. They love playing all sports, playing board games, and watching movies. He also keeps busy coaching many of his children’s sports teams. You may also occasionally find him on a unicycle! If you want to know more about that unique hobby, reach out!

Janette Evans, Office Assistant – Janette, “Janie,” plays a pivotal role as office assistant, supporting all WLC teams.

In her spare time, Janie likes to read, go to the gym, and hang out with her two boys. Janie is an incredibly hard worker. As a single mom working full time and raising two young children, she put herself through college to finish her 4-year degree in Business. She is excited to be a part of the team and contribute to the amazing work we get to do. “When I was growing up and going through school, there was nothing like Workplace Learning Connection to utilize,” says Janie. “Students simply did not have the opportunity to explore the many options that are out there for careers. Giving students the chance to job shadow, to have an internship in a field they are interested in, or to take college classes while in high school is absolutely huge. All of these explorations can help refine and clarify ideas in the mind of each student.”

Megan Lehman, Work-Based Learning Coordinator – In this new WLC role, Megan supports College Credit in High School students and their educators with engagement in quality work-based learning programs and services. She also supports project-based learning requests from key partners and builds capacity and support with new and existing business partners for project-based learning.

In her off-hours, Megan spends a lot of time outside biking, kayaking, or hiking. She also loves houseplants and spends a lot of time taking care of those! Something interesting about Megan? She attended Kirkwood with her twin sister after they graduated from high school, and now they both work at Kirkwood! Megan understands the importance of career exploration in high school. “Career exploration is such a pivotal part of a student’s education because you don’t know what you don’t know,” she says. “Since starting college, I have worked in three completely different industries and it took some exploration to know what I truly wanted to do. That is why job shadows and internships are such important and awesome opportunities for students to take advantage of. Dive in and don’t stop till you find something that clicks!”

Free Resource: Live, Virtual CTE Career Exploration Activities

Iowa Intermediary Network’s Connection Lab is a free resource for area educators that offers both live and recorded virtual statewide events that align with Iowa career and technical education standards and connects classrooms with engaging industry experts.

There are events across all six career and technical education services areas: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Applied Science, Technology, and Manufacturing; Business, Finance, Marketing, and Management; Family and Consumer Sciences; Health Sciences; and Information Solutions. Event registration is free.Connections Lab logo

These events are a great way to supplement classroom learning by exposing students to various careers and industry experts and demonstrating how classroom learning can transfer to real-world opportunities.

Learn more about upcoming live events, registering for an event, or viewing recorded events.

Event registrations are open to Iowa educators and 9th through 12th grade students.



We want to thank Derek Snead and the team at Jones County Engineers for hosting a student intern this past summer.

“The biggest advantage of engaging with the WLC Internship Program, from our vantage point, [is] the future possibilities in further employment. If we can get some of these kids’ feet wet and [get them] interested, then oftentimes they come back.” – Derek Snead, County Engineer - Jones County Engineers

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

Cedar Rapids Community School District multi-colored star logo

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