Developing our Future Workforce

December 10, 2018
by Kate Moreland
Director of Career Development, ICR IOWA

Almost a year has passed since the new ICR Future career-connected learning coalition launched, bringing together over 70 individuals representing 15+ organizations, employers, and school districts. Their goal is to increase the number of students who select high-demand career pathways and graduate with work-ready skills.
The Career Exploration Team has completed a best-practice road map for career-connected learning for 6th – 12th grades. A first workshop with districts to share the framework was held at Grant Wood AEA last week and several more are planned. This team also completed worksheets for each of the 16 national career pathways, showcasing high demand careers, salaries, and the education needed for each path. The worksheets will be shared with all 32 school districts, but we are excited to announce that the Iowa City Community School District and Cedar Rapids Community School District are already planning to use them in their Programs of Studies beginning in 2019/2020.
The Work-Based Learning Team will be launching a campaign in early 2019 to increase the number of ICR employers offering high school job shadows, internships, and teacher externships. With the leadership of Workplace Learning Connectionand many other partners, they want to add 600+ work-based learning opportunities for students and 50 teacher externships over the next two years. The campaign will launch at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance Annual Event in January and the Iowa City Area Chamber’s Annual Event in February. We hope everyone will be able to attend one or both of these great events!
The Computer Science Team, led by members of the IT Sector Board andNewboco, is working to increase the number of middle and high school educators and students with access to computer science and computational thinking training. We had 21 schools participate in the Hour of Code during national Computer Science week and we hope to grow that number in 2019.
The 21st Century Skills and Problem-Based Learning Team is working to increase student innovation, entrepreneurial, and socio-emotional skills by providing UI STEM Innovator training to our high school educators and implementing ACT Tessera, a social and emotional learning tool, in our middle and high schools. UI STEM Innovator has applied for a grant that would underwrite training for 60 additional teachers in 2019 and ACT has agreed to offer ICR schools the opportunity to participate in a Tessera pilot at no charge.
To help everyone stay connected to this work and share opportunities with our amazing students and their families, a new online ICR Future Career Connected Learning Hub will be launching this week. The new website will make it easier for students and parents to develop a career pathway plan based on regional data and resources, for teachers to learn about regional career-connected learning strategies and resources for their classrooms, and for employers to participate in developing their future workforce. Stay tuned for that press release and all the details later this week!
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