An Executive Order signed by Governor Kim Reynolds for the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning will help expand student and business work-based learning opportunities. Facilitated by the Iowa Department of Education and Area Education Agencies (AEA) Learning Online, the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning will build upon existing school business partnerships, including the successful efforts of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
Hundreds of thousands of Iowa students have participated in high-quality STEM education programming through the STEM Council across the six STEM regions. Since 2011, the STEM Council has been successful in increasing student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Students who participate in the STEM Scale-Up Program score higher on state tests in mathematics, science and reading compared to all students throughout the state. STEM Scale-Up Program participants are also more interested in working in Iowa after graduation and pursuing high-demand STEM careers such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, health care and the skilled trades.
STEM BEST® , the STEM Council’s innovative work-based learning model, joins schools and businesses together to design real-world, hands-on experiences for students. In the last four years, 37 STEM BEST® awards have been implemented in 39 schools and/or school districts, engaging 368 local business partners.
Building upon this foundation, the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning will expand work-based learning throughout the state and help facilitate distance K-12 school to business partnerships. These efforts and the ongoing efforts of the STEM Council are critical to achieving the Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce receiving education or training beyond high school by 2025.