Gov. Kim Reynolds, joined by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and state business and education leaders, signed Executive Order No. 1 on Monday establishing the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning.
“We have to think longer term about how to help all K-12 students connect what they learn in the classroom to future careers,” Gov. Reynolds said. “Expanding work-based learning is an essential step in that direction.”
The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning will be a joint venture of the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEA) Learning Online. Together, they will facilitate distance K-12 school-business partnerships and build an inventory of established and newly created work-based learning opportunities for K-12 students as well as students in college and trade schools.
A new Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning Advisory Board will be created. Half of the board’s members will come from business and industry because employer involvement will be critical to success. Fareway Stores, Inc. will be the first business to partner with the state.
“Through Fareway’s 80 years of business, it’s been committed to supporting, mentoring and employing Iowa’s youth,” Fareway CEO Reynolds Cramer said. “Gov. Reynolds’ Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning is an effort to team Iowa’s youth, regardless of their location, with local academia and Iowa businesses in order to identify work-based learning opportunities. This is a great initiative, and we are proud to support it.”
“In partnership with employers, educators and students, I am confident the clearinghouse will transform career exploration and preparation for many more students around the state,” Gov. Reynolds said.
Work-based learning is already happening in Iowa. The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s STEM BEST program has launched 37 projects across the state involving 39 schools or school districts and more than 360 employers.
“Building on that foundation is exciting,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said. “It will undoubtedly make learning more relevant for students.”
The governor’s budget includes $250,000 for the clearinghouse as part of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative. The goal is to launch the clearinghouse by July 1, 2019.