Working Iowa: Kirkwood Workplace Learning Connection helps students explore careers
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - With the help of Kirkwood Workplace Learning Connection, middle and high school students are getting the opportunity to explore careers. It’s an experience that helped Prairie High School senior Alexa Higginbotham figure out her next steps.
”If it wasn’t for Kirkwood, I wouldn’t know what I’m doing right now,” Higginbotham said.
She is one of the students who interned at “The District” in Cedar Rapids, where they explored event planning and marketing.
Higginbotham first thought she wanted to be a lawyer, but after three different job shadows and an internship with the help of Kirkwood WLC, she now plans to major in entrepreneurship and minor in marketing at Iowa State.
“If it wasn’t for these job shadows and internship, it would be a lot harder of a process to find what I’m interested in and Kirkwood has helped me alongside all the way,” Higginbotham said.
The WLC works with area schools and businesses to provide work-based learning opportunities.
”We work with local businesses to create experiences such a job shadows, internships, career speaker events, and tours ultimately with the end goal of helping develop Iowa’s workforce,” said Brittany Slaubaugh, WLC Program Coordinator.
71 percent of students who have participated in job shadows and internships through the program said it positively impacted their decision to work and live in Iowa.
The WLC through Kirkwood also helped Prairie High School senior Emily Stuecker solidify her path while preparing for college.
”Just from that experience of that first job shadow, I was like I think event planning is what I want to do,” Stuecker explained.
She learned valuable skills for the workplace.
“I’m able to grow as a person I’m able to be in like workplaces with adults and like learn how to be more professional and just like interact with those people,” said Stuecker.
Kirkwood WLC was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Career Z Challenge semi-finalist. They’ll be awarded more resources and potentially more funding.
The WLC is always looking for more businesses to get involved.
“This fall alone, we have thousands of students in our area applying for job shadows and internships,” said Slaubaugh.
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