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Student Work-Based Learning Opportunities Grow in Iowa

Future Ready Iowa in 2021

September 1, 2021


During the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Future Ready DSM podcast, guests share insights about the employment landscape for people entering the workforce, as well as those looking to advance or change their career paths with The Partnership’s Senior Vice President of Talent Development Dr. Marvin DeJear. 

In this episode of Future Ready DSM, Kathy Leggett, Future Ready Iowa policy advisor at Iowa Workforce Development discussed connecting Iowans to education and training that will lead to better jobs and careers, as well as growing youth engagement in the state through student work-based learning.

Resources + Assistance for Student Work-Based Learning Experiences

Leggett shared how work-based learning experiences are important for two reasons:

  • It helps students prepare for a successful future.
  • It helps employers grow their skilled workforce.

Work-based experiences are real-life, hands-on learning that can’t be replaced. Students learn what organizations have to offer in full, expanding students’ learning base for what’s available to them in their communities. One of the goals of Future Ready Iowa is for every student in the state to have authentic Iowa work-based learning opportunities by 2027. To do this, these opportunities must be funded. Currently, programs such as the Future Ready Iowa Summer Youth Intern Project, which funded 26 projects in 2021, awarding $1.6 million, will help meet this goal. 

Growing Youth Engagement in Iowa

Organizations applying for Future Ready Iowa programs are reaching out to community employers. It’s a true grassroots effort. Leggett said that this is an effective way to engage with employers. Through one such program, the Employer Innovation Fund, Future Ready Iowa matches employer dollars put into a program to help address barriers and enhance education and training experiences. Future Ready Iowa is also planning on creating several local summits throughout the state. These two-hour morning sessions will give students a chance to connect with employers and communities.

The Future of Future Ready Iowa

Leggett said they are working to change the conversation around the state and show that there is something for everyone. If you want to go for a four-year degree, two-year degree or registered apprenticeship, you can take the path that works for you and find a career in something you love. Future Ready Iowa will also continue to work to remove barriers like transportation, language, child care, felony records and more. In 2021, the Last Dollar Scholarship program was granted funding and is intended to help cover the gap between federal and state grants/scholarships and tuition.  

More information can be found at futurereadyiowa.gov.

Listen to the entire podcast below.

The Future Ready DSM podcast brings Greater Des Moines (DSM) employment leaders and experts in to discuss the latest trends in talent attraction and retention in the region. Hosted by Greater Des Moines Partnership Senior Vice President of Talent Development Dr. Marvin DeJear.

Future Ready DSM

The Future Ready DSM Podcast brings Greater Des Moines (DSM) employment leaders and experts in to discuss the latest trends in talent attraction and retention in the region.