Application Now Open for the ABI Foundation’s Student Programs, Business Horizons (High School) and Leadership Iowa University (College)

January 10, 2020 | 2020 legislative preview McKenzie Kielman, Marketing & Engagement Coordinator, ABI Foundation,

Valuable to business and industry, relevant to community retention and workforce development efforts, and impactful to participants: the ABI Foundation cultivates Iowa’s talent continuum with engaging experiential programs, Business Horizons (high school) and Leadership Iowa University (college).


Innovation simulation for high school students (grades 9-12) to team up and compete as a start-up from inception to investor pitch, using their strengths and skills to strategize and visualize future plans in Iowa.

One-third of Iowa high school graduates do not pursue further education. After five days of team-based, hands-on career exploration, here’s the breakdown of what our diverse 76 participants envision their next steps to be:

  • Trade School 4%
  • Community College 10%
  • Community College and University 8%
  • 4-year College/University 75%
  • Military 1%
  • Work 2%

Additionally, 66% of our high school student participants in 2019 were already in the workforce, with the majority holding jobs both during the school year and summer months.

Transforming interests into pathways, they are approaching commencement more knowledgeable, confident and enthusiastic.

Help a high school student discover their next step at

Sources: AEA PREP, Iowa Area Education Agencies, Iowa Department of Education, 2019. Post-program survey, Business Horizons, 2019.


College internship capstone connecting our state’s next decision makers with tools for professional and personal success.

Less than half of all college students in Iowa say they are likely to stay in the state.

‘Personal interest’ and ‘feels it’s meant to be’ are among top motivators alongside earnings potential, location and aptitude for/ability to perform job. Here’s what our 2019 Leadership Iowa University students said would make the difference in their future workplace:

“Culture that embraces creativity and challenges.” “Company that has an impact on the community.” “Diversity, especially in the leadership team.” “Assists with personal development.” “Team atmosphere.”

After one week of touring Iowa businesses and networking with Iowa professionals, nearly all participants, including those undecided on plans after graduation previous to the program, shared they now plan to continue to call our state home.

Connect a college student to experience why Iowa is the best place for them to work and live at

Sources: Post-graduation Location & Employment Plans, Iowa Workforce Development, 2017. Post-program survey, Leadership Iowa University, 2019.