Parent Resources

Parent Resources

Help Your Child Prep for a Career!

Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) provides career exploration opportunities for middle school and high school students interested in exploring career options. WLC offers high school sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to apply for job shadows and internships, at no cost! Help your child navigate this process and discover their dream career before starting college.

Workplace Learning Connection was established in 1998 and became a department of Kirkwood in 2011. The program serves students in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington counties.


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Participation in work-based learning experiences, such as job shadows and internships, gives students the opportunity to explore career interest, discover local opportunities, gain confidence, build connections, and plan for their future. Students get all of this without any monetary commitment. We've found that these experiences also help increase motivation and improve retention while helping students develop responsibility, maturity, problem-solving skills, self-confidence, and self-discipline.

Internships are available year-round and they typically last between 45 and 90 hours (5 - 10 hours per week), though schedules can be more flexible in the summer and are frequently completed in a shorter amount of time. Keep in mind, some internships have prerequisites such as certain classes or programs the student has to complete. There can also be an age requirement.
Students apply through their school and may receive high school credit. Panel interviews are used to vet students and not all move forward - it's competitive and the opportunity must be available.

  • Applications include a student portion, parent approval, school recommendation, teacher recommendation, and outside reference.
  • Students maintain a journal and participate in three career development meetings.
  • Transportation is the student's responsibility.

Internship Facts to Remember

  • Schedules are arranged between student and employer.
  • Student workers' compensation is covered by the school for unpaid internships.
  • Internships are expected to be unpaid, but can be paid at the discretion of the business, which transfers workers' compensation to the business.
  • There are federal and state laws surrounding students under 18.

Businesses that take part in our programs find a wide variety of benefits.

  • Provides the opportunity to develop a relationship with potential future employees.
  • The program provides workers who bring new ideas, fresh approaches, and enthusiasm for work.
  • Offers direct input into education and training needed for students.
  • Improves the image and prestige of the industry and/or business among students and community members.
  • Provides an opportunity to make a difference in the future workforce.
  • Increases student awareness of employment prospects in the community.
  • Promotes a closer relationship between the community and school.   

Rochelle Triggs

“You know, as a mom, it has been so gratifying to sit back and watch my daughter’s path unfold. One thing just perfectly led to the next thing. Through shadows, internships, and Academy classes, students are able to get a first look at a career before they have any investment. They don't have to take a year's worth of courses at college to decide they don't want to go into a specific field. Career exploration is an inexpensive way to try and discover your passion before college, which all parents can appreciate. ”

Rochelle Triggs,
Workplace Learning Connection Parent