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Entries in Workplace Learning Connection (5)


Workforce Development hits home for Employers

We had a great turnout last week for WEDG's Workforce Development meeting for Washington County area employers. There were 50+ that attended, including leaders from are business, government, and non-profit organizations.

We put together a short but thorough survey to help get some feedback from the meeting. Employers that attended or that would have liked to attend are welcome to take 10 minutes to provide feedback. Click here to take our survey.

Here is an overview of the topics or organizations we covered in 2 hours:


WLC connects students and educators from Grant Wood AEA Area X school districts in Cedar, Benton, Iowa, Jones, Linn, Johnson and Washington Counties in east central Iowa looking for career information with area business professionals who are interested in preparing our region's future employees.

WLC coordinates job shadows, internships, career exploration field days, financial literacy events, and even thoughtful events for elementary school students.

Follow the WLC on Facebook too.

Rochelle Sowers is the contact for Washington County. (319) 887-3651,


Home Base Iowa is a new Iowa initiative to help veterans (from all over) find jobs, explore career paths, and make a smooth transition to civilian life in Iowa. Employers can sign up to participate on the HBI web site. Employers can also post jobs on the site. You can check out the current jobs postings at

The program director is Kathy Anderson, (515) 822-8951,

Follow HBI on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


SKILLED IOWA initiative

Skilled Iowa is an Iowa initiative that incorporates the WorkKeys® assessment system. WorkKeys® was developed by ACT® to measure individual worker’s skills in the areas of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. The idea is to have many people take the assessment, and pair that with employers that want to use this informative tool to assist in the hiring or advancement process.

Washington County is a certified "Work Ready Community." Not that many places have met all the metrics, but a lot of people in Washington County have taken the Skilled Iowa assessment. Now we just need more employers to actually request and use the info from job seekers when they hire!

IWD's Scott Mather is the key contact in our region for Skilled Iowa. (319) 365-9474,



The Kirkwood Washington Regional Center is about to move in to a new 36,000 s.f. high tech facility in Washington. High school students from 6 area school districts will attend during the day to take duel-enrollment courses in a wide variety of career accedemies. It will also be the center for Kirkwood college students.

This is a great career training center that is a huge link between students and careers.

Tera Pickens is the Washington center director. (319) 653-4655,

Follow them on FaceBook, Twitter, and on their blog.



DaLayne Williamson of the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD) has been spearheading an initiative to have business and industry consider new ways of managing an innovative business. Rather than a traditional leadership model where decisions are made top-down, TEAM Centered Workplaces allow for greater collaboration and employee autonomy, through Trust, Enjoyment, Accountability and Managing the Whole Person.

 Contact DaLayne Williamson at (319) 351-1137,



Kirkwood Training and Outreach Services (KTOS) has a number of professional development classes that they offer in Linn County annually. Last year, KTOS started to offer some of those classes at the nearby Johnson County ISU Extension Building at the Fairgrounds.

These excellent and affordable program offerings are an excellent, and now nearby way to offer excellent training opportunities to your business leadership.

Kirkwood also coordinates a regional Advanced Manufacturing Sector Board that has done a lot of planning and consideration of how Kirkwood and its partners can promote manufacturing and skills acquisition to help staff manufacturers with the talent they need.

Danielle Allen is the key contact at (319) 398-5888,

Follow them on FaceBook too.



For over twenty years, the Chamber is proud to host Leadership Washington, a nine session program designed to educate civic-minded individuals about current issues and concerns which face the Washington Area.

This is a great way for business leaders to learn more about how Washington and Washington County works, but also to develop great networking circles.

Contact Michelle Redlinger for more information at (319) 653-3272,



Whether or not you attended our Workforce Develoment meeting last week, if you are an employer, we would appreciate it if you decided to complete our survey. Thanks. It will really help us to know how and about what to communicate with you in the upcoming year.



How about hosting H.S. students for job shadows?

Several high school students from Washington County explored a career of their choice through Kirkwood's Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) job shadow program during the Fall of 2013.  The career field of Engineering is always a popular request for teenagers and this school year is no different. 

CIVCO Medical Solutions in Kalona hosted several area students for a Biomedical Engineering group job shadow.

WLC is looking for business people in Washington County to host one-day, couple-of-hours job shadow experiences for Washington County high school students. 

If you are interested in being involved in preparing the next generation to enter and succeed in the world of work, go to WLC’s Partnership Opportunity website to get started!  

MOCK INTERVIEWS - FEB 4th and 11th

The Workplace Learning Connection is also coordinating Mock Interviews for Washington High School students on Tuesday, February 4th from 9-11am at W.H.S. If you would like to volunteer to help students to   Contact Stephanie Olney at (319) 887-3647 or to volunteer. There are a few spaces left to help out.

WLC is also coordinating Mock Interviews at Highland High School on February 11th, but they have all the volunteers they need...

The school districts around Washington County have taken great strides in the last several years to reach out to employers to partner on workforce development. Please reach back by volunteering and helping these young students.

Kirkwood's Workplace Learning Connection also coordinates other events to connect k-12 students with employers in career exploration, job shadows, internships, financial literacy (April 3, Wellman Parkside Activites Center), and more.


Workplace Learning Connection impacts Washington County

The 2012-2013 school year has been a successful one for Kirkwood's Workplace Learning Connection and Washington County businesses, organizations and schools working together to connect today’s students to tomorrow’s careers.

Washington County boasts the participation of over 128 businesses and 194 current and past volunteers who have supported young people and their teachers in a variety of work-based learning opportunities ranging from STEM Events and Financial Literacy Fairs to middle school business site tours and job shadows for high school students. 

The work of building our future workforce belongs to all of us.  If your business or organization is interested in participating in the programs of Workplace Learning Connection and engaging in work-based learning,  please check out their Partnership Opportunities page for more information on how you can get involved.

Thank you to the fantastic partners in Washington County for your support and commitment to build a bridge between school and the workplace.

The role and partnership opportunities for the Workplace Learning Connection will only grow when the Kirkwood Regional Education Center opens in Washington in August, 2014.


Volunteers Needed for Financial Literacy Fair for Middle Schoolers

265 Middle School 8th grade students from Washington, Mid-Prairie and Highland Schools will participate in an annual "Financial Literacy Fair" on Thursday, April 4th, from 9:00am to Noon. This year's event for Washington County schools will be in Wellman at the Parkside Activities Center. The event is coordinated by Kirkwood's Workplace Learning Connection, and is sponsored by several area credit unions.

The Financial Literacy Fair is the culmination of a year's worth of financial study and career exploration for area middle school students. During the year, students learn how to keep a check registry, how to make a budget and the importance of saving money. They will also explore careers based on their skills and interests. From this exploration they will choose a career and receive a monthly paycheck for that career to use at the Financial Literacy Fair.

During the Financial Literacy Fair students will make a series of decisions about how to spend their money. Transportation, Housing, Insurance, Food are just a few of the booths they will visit. Just like in real life students will experience unexpected bills or windfalls at the Wheel of Reality. At the end of the fair they will meet with a credit union financial counselor to see how they put their financial knowledge to work at the fair.

In order to make this event a success for the 265 students, Kirkwood and area Schools need people like you to volunteer a few hours at the Parkside Activities Center. You don't have to be a business owner or CEO to help, just life experience and work experience. Volunteers from past years have found this to be a very rewarding way to have an positive impact on early teen students. With your help, we’re showing students the value of financial responsibility and giving them 21st Century Skills that will help them succeed as adults.

Please Click Here to register as a volunteer.  

Since 2009 the Financial Literacy Fair has grown from 350 students in just Johnson County to over 4000 in Benton, Johnson, Linn and Washington Counties.  

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Ott at the Workplace Learning Connection, (319) 887-3648, who's motto is Connecting today’s students to tomorrow’s careers.

The Workplace Learning Connection coordinates a lot of great events in Washington County, including short mock interviews with 129 Washington 9th graders on March 1st at 8:30am. They need volunteers to help with these interviews too...

WEDG Annual Dinner - March 18

WEDG, Chamber and Main Street Annual Dinner - "Greater Washington" is on Monday, March 18 at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. Go ahead and register for this great annual event.


Student job shadow applications due this week to the Workplace Learning Connection

A great opportunity to help high school students understand the work world through job shadows is available. Job Shadow Applications are due by Sept. 7 to the Washington High School Guidance Dept. Parents, get your high school student to sign up! Deadlines for students in other schools may vary a little, but the end of this week is the end for applications!

This annual opportunity is made possible by the Workplace Learning Connection, a partnership between Kirkwood Community College and Grant Wood AEA. The Workplace Learning Connection helps to coordinate students with employers in the 7-county Kirkwood Community College district, including Washington County.

In order for enriching and educational opportunities like this to grow our future workforce, there are several important components:

  • High School students must want to explore the work place.
  • Parents must encourage their students.
  • Employers must open their doors to students who want to learn more about jobs or careers at their business.
  • Schools and teachers must understand the job and career opportunities at businesses in Iowa and in our neighborhoods.

The Workplace Learning Connection helps to pull all of those elements together.

Lets see who we can inspire this year. Our future depends on it.

Also, don't forget to vote on Kirkwood's referendum to extend a $0.20 levy on September 13! If approved, funding from this levy will help to build three new regional education centers, including one in Washington, Iowa, that will be a tremendous benefit to students of all ages. Please vote.