Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo will visit the Clarinda Community School District in the near future as part of a spring school tour focused on work-based learning.
Leo kicked off the tour March 18 in the Marshalltown Community School District. State leaders are looking for ways to strengthen Iowa’s workforce talent pipeline. Increasing student engagement through hands-on, real-world learning experiences is a key strategy to help students explore and prepare for high-demand careers with companies across the state.
“I’m excited to learn more about innovative work-based learning programs and other initiatives underway in our schools and community colleges,” Lebo said. “Students engaged in learning that integrates technical and academic skills that align with workforce needs helps them make decisions about future careers and offers clear pathways to industry certifications and postsecondary credentials.”
Rapid growth of work-based learning reflects more employers recognizing it develops their early talent pipeline and more educators recognizing it makes learning more relevant. Examples of that growth are the expansion of career and technical education (CTE) work-based learning and entrepreneurship, Iowa’s STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) STEM Council program involving nearly 100 school districts and nonpublic schools, and Registered Apprenticeship programs expanding to 53 high schools. In addition, many school districts are launching and expanding their own grassroots work-based learning initiatives. Iowa’s challenge now is ensuring access to engaging work-based learning options for all students in rural and urban communities.
Other stops on Director Lebo’s tour include: Boone, Cedar Rapids, Johnston, Linn-Mar, Marion, North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), North Tama County, Pella and a partnership between Aplington-Parkersburg, Dike-New Hartford, Gladbrook-Reinbeck and Grundy Center called Cedar Valley West.
Additional school and community college stops may be added.