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Kirkwood Secondary Program Aims to Combat Brain Drain

By April 19, 2016November 28th, 2018No Comments

High school students get rare glance at food science and biotechnology industry

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (April 19, 2016)-Kirkwood’s Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) introduced more than 80 high school students from around Iowa’s Creative Corridor to the world of food science and biotechnology. WLC, a program for middle and high school students, educates them about career fields and the employment opportunities in Iowa to help plug the state’s brain drain.

WLC connects students to employers through job shadows, internships and special events. During the 2015 – 2016 school year, nearly 25,000 students participated in the program. Of those students 2,922 completed job shadows and 152, internships.

By connecting schools to employers, teachers gain insight about skills shortages. Educators even participate in externships to better understand job demands. This connection enables area schools to incorporate training into their curriculum. Oftentimes students graduate job ready.

“Participating in events like Food Science and Biotechnology Day motivates students,” said Joan Stekl, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Cedar Rapids Washington High School. “Knowing that what they are learning in the classroom will prepare them for the workforce, establishes an end goal. It is great to reference Workplace Learning Connection events when I’m teaching.”

On April 5, more than 80 students and educators from seven area high schools participated in Food Science and Biotechnology Day. Diamond V, Dupont Industrial Biosciences, General Mills and Red Star Yeast Company opened their doors to give a rare behind the scenes look at operations.

“Kirkwood is a conduit for area employers, opening eyes to the many career opportunities in the corridor,” said Iowa New Jobs Training Manager Stephanie Bredman. “We are relentlessly promoting that you don’t have to leave the state to find a good paying job. WLC effectively communicates this to young people.”