Parent Resources

Parent Resources

Help Your Child Prep for a Career!

Workplace Learning Connection at Kirkwood offers high school students free opportunities to apply for job shadows and internships. Help your child navigate this process and discover their dream career before starting college.

Workplace Learning Connection was established in 1998 and became a department of Kirkwood in 2011. Now, the program serves high school juniors and seniors in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington counties.

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Students apply through their school and may receive high school credit. Panel interviews are used to vet students and not all move forward - it's competitive and the opportunity must be available. 

  • Applications include a student portion, parent approval, school recommendation, teacher recommendation, and outside reference.
  • Students maintain a journal and participate in three career development meetings.
  • Transportation is the student’s responsibility.

Internships occur during the school year, in the fall, winter, spring, and summer. they typically last between 45 and 90 hours (5 - 10 hours per week), though schedules can be more flexible in the summer and are frequently completed in a shorter amount of time.

Keep in mind, some internships have prerequisites such as certain classes or programs the student has to complete. There can also be an age requirement.

Internship Facts to Remember

  • Schedules are arranged between student and employer.
  • Student workers' compensation is covered by the school for unpaid internships.
  • Internships are expected to be unpaid but can be paid at the discretion of the business, which transfers workers' compensation to the business.
  • There are federal and state laws surrounding students under 18.

Internships offer students a wealth of benefits for participation, even beyond the applicable skills they'll gain in the internship situation. We've found that internships help increase motivation and improve student retention as well as helping students develop responsibility, maturity, problem solving, self-confidence, and self-discipline.

Students can look forward to getting: 

  • Career exploration prior to long-term and costly investments in training.
  • An organized plan for on-the-job training.
  • Development in interpersonal skills through professional interactions.
  • An understanding of how academic instruction relevant and applicable to the workplace.

Businesses that take part in our internship programs find a wide variety of benefits from the internship experience. Some of the most common things we hear include:

  • The program provides workers who bring new ideas, fresh approaches, and enthusiasm for work.
  • Offers direct input into education and training needed for students.
  • Improves the image and prestige of the industry and/or business among students and community members.
  • Provides an opportunity to make a difference in the future workforce.
  • Increases student awareness of employment prospects in the community.
  • Promotes a closer relationship between the community and school.