The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning is a statewide initiative signed in by Executive Order (found here) that brings students, educators, and professionals together to foster work-based learning experiences that will jumpstart the next generation of the workforce by exposing them to different kinds of careers.
Bringing Work-Based Learning to More Iowa Classrooms
Work-based learning in Iowa isn’t a new concept; in fact it covers a broad range of experiences including guest speakers, career fairs, service learning, authentic projects, job shadows, internships and apprenticeships. Many school districts have been completing in-classroom, real-world projects with clients for years. The statewide Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning helps to bring the authentic learning format to Iowa classrooms and districts that haven’t had the resources for this style of learning in the past.
The virtual Clearinghouse is available to all Iowa schools, K-12 classrooms, and businesses for project involvement through a system where both classes and businesses can enter themselves as an interested party and browse for a good match for a project. Students work on the projects primarily in the classroom, making this distinctly different from work-study or internship formats.
What’s Different About the Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning?
The virtual space created with the Clearinghouse will allow rural and urban students in Iowa alike to have the same access to in-depth industry experiences through a variety of businesses across the state. The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning ensures access to real-world projects for traditionally underrepresented students and districts. While the Clearinghouse is available for businesses and projects of all kinds, this initiative focuses heavily on high-demand STEM fields and careers to introduce students to career opportunities of interest and to allow technology-based businesses to get their foot in the door with the next generation of employees.
Progress with the Virtual Clearinghouse
As of January 2019, over 40,000 businesses in Iowa with five or more employees have been sent a survey via U.S. Mail to gauge their interest in participating in work-based projects.
If you’re an Iowa business interested in collaborating with students on a project for your company, please fill out an interest form to learn more.