Connecting Today's Students To Tomorrow's Careers 
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Workplace Learning Connection


Why we do what we do

We believe in a vibrant community with a workforce ready for a changing world, and we support the next generation as they navigate and connect to our shared future.


What we do

We are connecting today's students to tomorrow's careers through high quality, age-appropriate work-based learning opportunities. 


WLC is dedicated to building rural community partnerships with businesses. Through internships, job shadows and career events, students in our rural communities are gaining better insight into opportunities in their own backyard.  We recently spoke with two Iowa county businesses, Marengo Memorial Hospital and Monsanto about their experiences working with WLC.  

Marengo Memorial's Mary Warwick, Director of Administrative Services, Marketing Specialist;  Tina Welsh, RN, and Sara Magill, DNP from Marengo Memorial Hospital: 
Why does Marengo Hospital work with WLC?
Marengo Memorial Hospital values the relationship we have with our area businesses and students.  We support our area youth and anticipate that by allowing them to job shadow they can see the value that the medical field has in our communities and the importance of the need to continue strong facilities, like ours, in rural Iowa.
What value do you see in hosting students in job shadows/internships?
I value the perspective of what the consumer may not see on a day to day basis. Specifically with healthcare, patients do not see what happens in the other rooms, the thought process into treatments and the inner workings of "the machine."  Most young people wanting to go into healthcare, whether it's administration, nursing or medicine, are intrigued by the science, however there is much more to it, than that. Providing an experience to immerse the student into the situation may help them develop their own career values and thus help them make educated choices for their future.   
Students get to see the professional they have chosen to follow actually perform their job not just reading about it or talking to someone about their profession. This may definitely influence their decision.
With the current and future shortage of healthcare staff members, do you feel the connections made during the job shadows/internships helps to guide the students into the career field? 
We feel confident that students will enjoy their experience in our rural setting where their skills can be expanded throughout many lines of work.  A nurse can find herself covering inpatient, working the emergency department, assisting in surgery or specializing in the clinics.  Students can learn that by choosing a career path, there are options from that choice that extend beyond one specific line.
What one experience stands out from a job shadow/internship? 
One student did a job shadow with nursing and a few days later I spoke with her Mom and she told me that her daughter really enjoyed the job shadow and wasn't that interested in nursing until the job shadow and now is convinced she wants to be a nurse.  
What advice do you have for those businesses that are apprehensive about hosting students in the health and science career fields? 
We find that hosting these students is not only a benefit to them, but to our facility as well.  You never know when you may be making an impression on a young mind and they decide at that moment that a smaller community hospital is where they want their future to be! 
Anything else to add? 
We've enjoyed our relationship with WLC.  We have many aspects we partner with them on -  job shadowing, internships, elementary and high school tours, literacy fairs and more! 

Brett Wilson,   Monsanto Company,  W illiamsburg Site Lead
Why does Monsanto work with WLC?  
Monsanto seeks out opportunities to help enrich the community in a variety of ways. One very important enrichment opportunity happens to be the development of future leaders in the community. 
What value do you see in hosting students in job shadows? 
Providing students with insights to the working atmosphere is critical for them to be able to choose the right path in regard to education and skill sets they need. 
Do you feel the connections made during the job shadows helps to guide the students into the career field? 
Making connections is a critical skill set in any career path.  It does not always matter what occupation you make connections within, but just making them provides a great deal of value for organizations.
What advice do you have for those businesses that are apprehensive about hosting students? 
Hosting students not only helps build future leaders for our businesses, it also helps students understand what types of careers there are, and ultimately helps them make better decisions in regard to their education.
WLC has dedicated staff  serving the rural districts in our seven county area. Students gain access to career exploration opportunities within their community as our rural liaisons build these new connections. This month we are shining the spotlight on educators in Iowa and Benton county.

Rich Reasner, Williamsburg HS Counselor
What value do you see with the partnership with WLC?
Being able to partner with Workplace Learning Connections has allowed our students to have the opportunities to view and experience various careers. I have found that this really broadens my students perspectives when it comes to their futures. It's allowed many students to find their path when it comes to college and career choices after graduation.   
What value do you see with the Mock Interview event?
Mock interview is a great tool to help kids gain some of the soft skills that are beneficial to not just their future interview, but their interactions with peers and adults.   
What is one experience that stands out that a student had with their job shadow, internship, or mock interview through WLC?
We had a student who wasn't really sure what they liked to do. They ended up choosing a job shadow at a Landscaping company in the area and absolutely fell in love with it. The experience they had was wonderful and filled with lots of hands on opportunities to try out various parts of the business. The best part was that they made such a good impression they were encouraged to come back, and the student is strongly considering that field for future employment.    
How has the relationship with WLC and the students at Williamsburg benefited with exposure outside the rural setting?
We are lucky to be relatively close to several cities that allow us to be able to send students to businesses that may not typically be part of a rural community. Being able to have students meet with engineers from Rockwell, Foremen for Apprenticeship programs, or even interact with some of the larger medical establishments in the vicinity has given them a chance to see pathways that they may not have considered coming from a smaller community.

Laurie Donald,
Curriculum/Professional Development Leader at Benton Community Schools:
What value do you see with the partnership with WLC?
The WLC has helped our students start to make contact with business people in our community.  By working with local businesses, our students are able to meet local business people and hear what they are looking for in their employees.
What value do you see with the Speaker's Series you worked on with WLC?  
During our speaker series, our students were exposed to 4 strands of industry:  Health care, manufacturing, agriculture and business.  By tapping into these people, our students were able to hear first hand the impact their schooling can make on their future.  They heard about the soft skills that employees are looking for and made connections with local business people that could impact their future.
How has the relationship with WLC and the students at Benton benefited with exposure outside the rural setting?
I actually think this series helped our students see what job possibilities there were within the rural setting.  There are so many things students could do other than farming in our community.  We really focused on the opportunities that are available right in our backyard.
Linn-County Internships Business Partnerships Needed
WLC has approximately 160 students in Linn County through unpaid internships that are eager to work and learn more about a career and gain elective credit through their high school. The requests have significantly increased from last year!  This is our largest group ever for Linn County and we need more opportunities to place these students this summer.  This is a great chance for Linn County businesses to engage the youth in our communities and help prepare the future work-force. 
The areas where we have more requests than opportunities available and need your partnership are:
Architecture and Design
Engineering (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical)
Engineering (Software, Systems)
Engineering Research
Graphic Design
Medical (Physicians, 
PA, NP, Tech, Therapies)
Veterinary (large and small animal)
Interested in partnering with WLC to host a student for an internship? Click here and click on internship.
Financial Literacy Fair
Springtime means Financial Literacy Fair time at Kirkwood Community College's Workplace Learning Connection (WLC).  Last spring 2015, WLC held five different fa irs over 15 days.  Fair sites were in Washington, Iowa, Johnson and Linn Counties. Parents and Businesses can volunteer! We need your help! Please volunteer here! 

Check out our daily post of community partnerships helping our future workforce! 

Workplace Learning Connection was founded in 1998 as a not-for-profit partnership of
Grant Wood AEA and Kirkwood Community College.  

Today, Workplace Learning Connection exists as a partially self-funded department of Kirkwood Community College under The Kirkwood Community College Foundation and as a partner of area 10 schools and businesses promoting and connecting career and future workforce development.