Connect @ Iowa Lakes

Intermediary Connections

Connect @ Iowa Lakes is a work-based learning program designed to help K-12 students to prepare for the workforce successfully. Our program connects business and education and offers relevant, work-based learning activities for students and teachers, particularly science, technology, engineering or mathematics occupations, occupations related to critical infrastructure, commercial and residential construction, advanced manufacturing, and biosciences, and informational technology.

Students that take part in programs offered through Connect @ Iowa Lakes are better prepared for life after high school and to make the best decisions for their post-secondary education, all while building great partnerships within their communities.

Connect Faculty Contact:

Autumn Larsen
Autumn Larsen
Intermediary Connections Coordinator
712-362-6838 Ext: 6838 | alarsen@iowalakes.educreate new email
Estherville | Wind Energy Building Campus
Who We Serve

Students from school districts in Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, and Palo Alto Counties.

Intermediary Connects & High School Students

Connect @ Iowa Lakes offers the unique opportunity to explore a variety of careers through job shadow and internship experiences. Through these experiences, students gain positive and lasting impressions while obtaining the appropriate skills and knowledge about careers within their interest areas.

Job Shadowing

Job Shadowing experiences allow students to explore what careers look like by following existing employees within an area business. Students gain insight into whether a job would be a good fit for them while making critical professional connections. 

Job Shadowing through Connect @ Iowa Lakes is available to high school students within the Iowa Lakes district in grades 10 -12. Students will take an excused absence from school to shadow an area business leader for two to six hours. 

Students interested in exploring a job shadow experience should talk with their High School Guidance Counselor and complete the Job Shadow Application below.

Job Shadow Application Button

Job Shadow Handbook Button

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Internships allow students to gain work experience and find out if a career path is a right fit for their future. High School juniors and seniors are eligible to intern with 45-90 hours of planned and supervised career experiences.

Internships allow students to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Apply classroom knowledge in a real-world setting
  • Develop employability skills to better prepare for the workforce
  • Gain insight to make more informed career choices

Students interested in internships should contact their High School Guidance Counselor or complete a request below

Internship Request Button 

Would send an email to Autumn Larsen alarsen@iowalakes.educreate new email 

Work-based Learning Opportunities for Businesses

Being a Business Partner allows you to share your excitement and insight into your business and industry with local students and educators. You have the opportunity to ignite imaginations while being protected from liability and all while receiving professional guidance for both you and the student.

Business Partnerships are key to work-based learning experiences, and it doesn’t have to be a big commitment. Work-based learning opportunities can be as short and easy as speaking to students in a classroom setting or a more in-depth experience like offering a job shadow, company tour, or internship.

See below for a full list of work-based learning experiences for you to explore.

Job Shadow & Company Tours

During a Job Shadow, students come into your business and spend part of a day, a minimum of two hours, learning as much as possible about what you do. Students will observe and interact with you to see if this career is a good fit for them. During Job Shadow experiences, it is recommended to provide a company tour to show your facilities and expose students to all aspects of your business. 


Student Internships

One of the best ways to show young people that there are many career opportunities available locally is to host an internship. You will work with students to provide them with a head start on their careers through hands-on academic career exploration. Internships are 45 – 90 hours of on-site learning for students tart the summer before their junior year through the spring term of their senior year. In turn, employers can meet and understand their future workforce and nurture the relationships necessary to fill critical positions. 

Classroom Speakers

Share your career path and experience with a small group or an entire classroom. Career speakers open students’ minds to opportunities they may have never considered and inform them about educational and experiential requirements for your career field. 

Career Panels

Career panels are an in-school opportunity for students to interact with professionals in a wide variety of career areas to learn about what it takes to prepare for a specific career and what it takes to succeed in the world of work in general.

Mock Interviews

Businesses that participate in a mock interview can teach students how to present themselves in a business setting and share in-depth information about workplace readiness, resume writing, and interviewing skills. Through this process, you will conduct a short interview and provide feedback to the student. 

Career Events

Increase interest in your business or industry by participating in a career fair or career event. Career fairs and events allow you to showcase your career and talk to students in an informal setting. Students explore a variety of career paths and become more comfortable talking with potential employers.

Host a Teacher

Allowing a teacher to spend a summer “on the job” in an area of business related to their subject area is an integral part of providing teachers with real-world practices to infuse in their classrooms. The insights teachers gain from their experiences allow them to:

  • Facilitate the use of real-world examples, as more teachers are utilizing contextual learning.
  • Encourage communication between education and the workplace.
  • Enhance a teacher’s understanding of all aspects of an industry. 
School Services

Connect @ Iowa Lakes provides a valuable career exploration tool you can use to help your students understand that what they’re learning in school applies to real-life.

You can enhance your curriculum and expand your industry knowledge by spending time at a worksite directly related to your classroom.

As students get older and start following a more clearly-defined educational path toward a career, they can get hands-on experience through job shadows and internships. These experiences help students make more informed career decisions.

Opportunities for Schools
  • Worksite Tours
  • Speakers
  • Mock Interviews
  • Job Shadows – Student Requested
  • Internships – Student Requested
  • Teacher Tours & Externships 

Are you interested in learning more about the Iowa Intermediary Network?