Learn About the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning

November 18, 2021 | Iowa Dept. of Education

For employers, the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning is a tool to help you build an early talent pipeline of future-ready workers while collaborating with schools across the state. By posting real-world projects in the Clearinghouse, businesses also provide students extraordinary opportunities to learn high-demand skills and explore career pathways. Accumold CEO/President Roger Hargens, whose company engages in numerous school-business partnerships, including the Clearinghouse, said “it is critically important that we help grow the next generation of manufacturing leaders.” 

“What we have seen is that [by] tackling actual business problems the students step up because they realize this is an opportunity to make a difference on something that matters,” he said. “This reinforces that they matter and that they are recognized by adults as having valuable, unique talent. The deadlines are real, and they are expected to meet them by the business team members that they are working with on the project.” 

Accumold appreciates the benefit of having a fresh set of eyes look at a business issue.

“The students are outside of the business bubble and ask questions that we may have overlooked,” Hargens said. 

Finding potential employees with the skills you value and need is critical, so please consider posting a project to the Clearinghouse for Work-based Learning to impact students early.

Accumold’s experience shows that getting involved is worthwhile.

The Clearinghouse launched in August 2019, and we are eagerly seeking new employer partners and project ideas, which we are happy to help develop. For students, projects ideally take no more than 10 to 20 hours to complete. For businesses, projects do not have to require a large time commitment, and collaboration can be conducted virtually.

While work-based learning includes a broad spectrum of activities from job shadows to Registered Apprenticeships, the Clearinghouse offers the midrange option of authentic projects that give students hands-on experiences. You can help them understand your business and dig into a real task that requires problem solving while honing the soft skills that are so important regardless of job or industry. And while this is happening, you will gain an understanding of what students are learning in classrooms and the way they view the world and marketplace.

To hear more from business partners, teachers and students who already are engaging in Clearinghouse projects, check out our Success Stories page. To ask questions or to get started on adding your project to the Clearinghouse, contact Jake Welchans, Clearinghouse project manager: jake.welchans@iowa.gov or 515-281-5494.