Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday announced the members of the new Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning Advisory Board. The governor established the virtual clearinghouse by Executive Order No. 1 to expand high-quality, real-world work-based learning experiences for K-12 students. This is in keeping with the Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of our workforce having education or training by 2025. The clearinghouse will go live by July 1, 2019.
“The benefits of work-based learning include connecting our classrooms to future careers with hands-on projects designed by educators and employers,” Gov. Reynolds said. “The clearinghouse will open up more opportunities for school-business partnerships that help students develop technical and problem-solving skills. This is crucial so more young people have great job opportunities and employers can hire the skilled workers they need.”
The Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning is a joint venture of the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEA) Learning Online. In addition to facilitating K-12 school-business partnerships, the clearinghouse will assemble an inventory of established and newly created work-based learning options for K-12 students as well as for students in post-secondary education and training programs.
Iowa Education Director Ryan Wise and Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend will lead the clearinghouse advisory board, which includes representatives of business and industry, education, nonprofits, elected leaders and students. Fareway Stores, Inc. is the first business to partner with the state on the clearinghouse.
Iowa already has a number of successful work-based learning options to expand upon. That includes the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s STEM BEST program, with 37 projects involving 39 schools or school districts and more than 360 employers with face-to-face school-business partnerships. It also includes the Statewide Work-Based Learning Intermediary
Network operated by Iowa’s 15 community colleges to provide a range of options from job shadowing to internships.
“We are committed to growing work-based learning opportunities as quickly as possible by launching more face-to-face as well as online school-business partnerships,” Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said. “The clearinghouse will help us make relevant work-based learning more readily accessible to many more K-12 students across the state, especially in rural communities.”
The 2018 Legislature approved Gov. Reynolds’ $250,000 budget recommendation for the clearinghouse as part of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative.