WLC updates county on growth of educational opportunities

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     In Fiscal Year 2018, Kirkwood’s Workplace Learning Connection (WLC) served a total of 867 students throughout Jones County.

     They work with six different schools in Jones County, from middle school through high school, and help students find internships, job shadows, and work site tours, just to name a few.

     There are 130-plus businesses/organizations that WLC partners with to place students in career-learning opportunities. For FY 2018, WLC saw 683 event participants, 138 job shadows, and 46 academic internships.

     With those successes in mind, Laurie Worden and Tris Langdon with WLC met with the Jones County Supervisors during their Jan. 2 meeting. WLC also requested a funding request of $2,046, or 10 cents per capita. For FY 2019, WLC previously requested 5 cents per capita.

     “We’re focusing on talent development and maintaining the workforce in Iowa,” said Worden. “WLC is a model of the rest of the state. We’re the point of contact between schools and businesses.”

     Worden explained it’s their partnerships with local businesses and organizations that has brought about much praise, in addition to how the programs are funded.

     County funding helps cover salaries for WLC employees, but also funds the work they do and services they provide for Jones County. Worden said the county funding also helps leverage state and federal grants.

     Aside from serving students, ELC also helps secure externships for educators through Grant Wood AEA.

     Langdon said their financial literacy fair, which is held in Hiawatha, encompasses all school districts in Jones County with the exception of Monticello.

     “If we could get Monticello on board, we could look at offering it in Jones County,” suggested Langdon. She said now, the schools bus their students to Hiawatha.

     Where WLC is seeing a steady increase is in their internship program since FY 2015.

     “Those are growing exponentially,” said Worden. Forty-four internships have been set for Jones County students for this current fiscal year, with half the school year yet to go.

     Through those internships, Worden said 29 percent of the students have been offered hiring opportunities with the businesses.

     Aside from county funding, WLC also receives funding from the three school districts in Jones County, which makes up about a quarter of their budget.

     “All of Jones County sees the importance of our effort and the value we bring to the businesses here,” said Worden. “We all have a responsibility to grow the future workforce here.

     “More and more students are making the decision to live and work in Jones County and Iowa,” continued Worden.

In other county business:

     County Attorney Kristofer Lyons introduced the supervisors to the new assistant county attorney, Amy Dollash. The board approved her hiring, with a starting salary of $72,100.

     • The board approved renewing the contact with Tyler Technologies for software in the Recorder’s Office. The five-year contract rate is $6,416.




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