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CLEARINGHOUSE FOR WORK-BASED LEARNING ... The Future Ready Iowa Clearinghouse for work-based learning is almost here! We are excited for our launch in July, and we want you to be a

May 31, 2020




  • Educating Iowa students for the knowledge economy requires connecting them to future careers through hands-on projects designed by employers and educators.

    The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning is a virtual space where business partners will post projects for Iowa K-12 students to gain in-depth work experience, bringing real-world application into the schools. The clearinghouse will launch by July 1.

    ABOUT WORK-BASED LEARNING Work-based learning helps students develop new skills and connections through projects, internships and even apprenticeships that are embedded into classwork. This sets the stage for great job opportunities for young people and builds a pipeline of skilled workers for employers.

    The clearinghouse supports the Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce having education or training beyond high school by 2025.

    OPPORTUNITIES AND ACCESS The clearinghouse will make work-based learning opportunities more accessible to more Iowa K-12 students, especially in rural areas.

    The clearinghouse will focus on high-demand careers, including those in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

    FOR STUDENTS • Understand how the

    classroom and workplace connect

    • Build job-specific knowledge and soft skills

    • Develop awareness of career options and skills needed

    • Find networking opportunities and mentors

    FOR BUSINESSES • Grow and develop potential

    employees • Gain fresh perspectives from

    the next generation • Build brand awareness • Tackle projects and tasks on

    the backburner • Build relationships with

    schools and communities







    LEARN MORE Established by Gov. Kim Reynolds through an executive order, the clearinghouse is a partnership between AEA Learning Online, the Iowa Department of Education, and Iowa Workforce Development.

    For more information, visit

    or contact Jake Welchans, project manager, at [email protected], or at 515-281-5494.


    ABOUT FUTURE READY IOWA Future Ready Iowa is an initiative to prepare individuals for dynamic careers and lifelong learning, to meet employer needs, to grow family incomes, and to strengthen communities.

    April - New website, blueprint and toolkits for schools and businesses

    July - Clearinghouse fully launches

    Students in the Ottumwa High School SparkTank program partnered with the Ottumwa Symphony Guild in preparation for the guild’s annual ball. Students designed large palm trees and worked with students in the high school’s Advanced Metals program to fabricate the structures.

    Danville Elementary fifth-graders took part in a “Why Robotics in Manufacturing?” project with ABB, an electrical equipment supplier in West Burlington. After learning about careers and the manufacturing cycle, these students planned and created podcasts about why robotics and automation are critical to the industry’s future.

    Students in Ankeny’s Orbis program worked with WHO-TV in Des Moines to produce short news stories for distribution on social media, with the goal of building engagement with younger audiences. [email protected]

  • The Future Ready Iowa Clearinghouse for work-based learning is almost here! We are excited for our launch in July, and we want you to be a part! Your organization is a key component to our state and a potentially valuable partner for schools to engage in authentic learning. We want to work with you so that your organization can have a presence on the project-board.

    What are Authentic Projects? They are student-led projects, done in conjunction with real- world business/community partners, developing real-world skills, done in a real-world setting, delivery a real-world product. They are designed around problems that business/community partners face on a daily basis.

    How does the Clearinghouse work?

    Partners propose project opportunities to the Clearinghouse. Once those are verified, partners decide when to make their opportunities visible. Students peruse the board looking for a match with their learning goals and (through their cooperating teacher) then apply for a project. From their dashboard, partners can approve or deny the requests. Once projects are complete, partners can close out the project listing, showcasing student work. But, I don’t know how to create a project opportunity! No problem! We are here to support. We have project templates that are available for partners to adopt or adapt. We also have regional think tanks to help you grow your own unique ideas. And most importantly, our Project Manager Jake Welchans can help you 1-on-1 develop your own project to get you started. How long does it take to develop a project opportunity? Though all situations vary, Jake can often work with a partner to develop a project in under two hours. What is the partner commitment once the opportunity is listed? This can vary too. For some, it can be a weekly check-in visit. For some, not as frequent. The visits could be done at the partner’s location, the school, or virtually. And for some, a partner can suggest the idea without committing to further involvement. We can work with you to find your fit.

    What if I want to work with just my local school? The Clearinghouse supports this! You can restrict opportunities to specific districts that you would like. As a benefit, your opportunity might serve as a template for a partner in a different part of the state.

    What if my project opportunity isn’t chosen? Well… that can happen. Our team of consultants are working with schools to help get generate more interest in work-based learning. But, we can also help you revise an opportunity listing if it isn’t getting traction.

    Are projects the only way for partners to get involved? Not at all! You can indicate your interest to work with schools in other capacities as well, including things like job shadowing, career fairs, guest speakers, and internships.


    This sounds great! How do I get started? Our website will be going live this April, ahead of the clearinghouse launch in July. Contact Jake Welchans for more information.

    [email protected] 515-281-5494

  • INTRODUCTION The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning is a virtual tool that will expand access to high-quality, in-depth work-based learning in rural and urban communities for all students, especially traditionally underrepresented students, with a focus on high- demand STEM fields and careers. School-business partnerships will be created and developed through projects that make learning more relevant and authentic for students as well as also meeting the needs of the businesses.

    This toolkit has been created with two goals in mind; first, to inform businesses about the importance of, and value in, engaging with students around meaningful work-based learning projects. And second, to provide guidance around creating a project, submitting it to the clearinghouse and managing the project to a successful completion.

    Expanding rigorous work-based learning opportunities is in keeping with Future Ready Iowa’s aims. Future Ready Iowa is an initiative to prepare individuals for

    dynamic careers and lifelong learning to meet employer needs and to grow family incomes and strengthen communities. It has the goal of 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. Learn more and read all of the recommendations on the Future Ready Iowa site.

    Work-Based Learning is a term that covers a range of different activities that begin with career awareness (guest speakers, career fairs), move into exploration activities (job shadowing, mentorship, authentic projects) and can grow into learning on the job site (internships, apprenticeships, etc). Authentic Learning is another term used for this type of work that leads to students developing technical knowledge, soft skills and community connections. The Iowa Department of Education has put out a Work-Based Learning Guide that provides an in-depth look at the continuum of work-based learning experiences, typical roles and responsibilities, and potential legal and safety concerns. The guide can be accessed on the Iowa Department of Education’s Work-Based Learning page.



    TOOLKIT Work-based learning guide final.pdf

  • Business Partner Toolkit Spring 2019

    Page 2

    TABLE OF CONTENTS What Are The Benefits For Businesses? ...............................................3

    What Are The Benefits For Students? ....................................................3

    What Is The Time Commitment? ...........................................................4

    Project Development: What Makes A High-Quality Project? ..................4

    Project Development: Brainstorming Proje