School-to-Work Program Continues to Grow at Waukee High School

The School-to-Work program at Waukee High School, which allows seniors to explore potential careers through internships, continues to see record participation. This year 45 seniors are participating in the program, hoping to get a jump-start on their future career paths.

“School-to-Work provides students with the opportunity build relationships with community partners that would not be possible from a school building. The opportunity to learn in a real-world setting deepens understanding and maximizes the potential of each individual who participates in the program,” Mindi Heitland, School-to-Work Teacher at Waukee High School said.

During their junior year, students are encouraged to apply for the School-to-Work program.  An interview is held and students are selected for the internship program beginning in their senior year based on the following criteria: attendance record, no history of discipline issues, good GPA and strong teacher recommendations.

In the fall, students selected for the program take a Career Development course focusing on resume writing, interviewing skills, office etiquette and other skills to help prepare them for a job in a career field of interest. Students begin their internships with local businesses and organizations during the second term and work for approximately two blocks per school day (10-15 hours/week) for the remainder of the school year.  In addition to the real world experience, students receive five DMACC credits for completing the internship and course.

The School-to-Work program benefits students enrolled in the program as they begin to decide what the right career is for them.

“They are able to network with experts in the career field they are interested in pursuing and can apply the knowledge they are learning in the classroom.  Students gain confidence in their skills and are learning how to be a better employee,” Heitland said.

Internships are not work release for seniors but an opportunity to gain work experience through a college-level internship. Many students are hired part-time or full-time after finishing their internships and some even return for summers and breaks while in college.

The School-to-Work program at Waukee High School is an excellent opportunity for high school seniors to test the waters of potential careers and to gain valuable real life work experience they might never get in the classroom.  These internships help the students learn a variety of workplace employability skills and gain confidence in their work.

Waukee students have completed internships in career fields such as nursing, accounting, sports and event management, culinary arts, engineering, and architecture.  Business partners include Drake University, Iowa ENT Center, Accelerated Rehabilitation, KJWW Engineering, Waukee Chamber of Commerce, Waukee Family YMCA, Des Moines Menace, ITA Group, Spindustry, Mercy Clinics, Waukee Wellness, Kuder, Design Alliance, and Hubbell Realty.

Some highlights from School-to-Work internships include:

  • Promoting sporting events and creating marketing materials
  • Helping prepare for surgeries as well as observing surgical procedures
  • Assisting with physical therapy patients
  • Training members of fitness centers in group and personal fitness activities
  • Coordinating, organizing, and event planning for organizations
  • Helping design plans for an architectural firm
  • Drawing blood from animals at a veterinary clinic
  • Developing lesson plans and teaching children’s recreation classes

 2013-14 Internships

AJ Allen Westown Media
Nicole Allen Custom One CFO and Associates
Alexi Alt Heartland AEA/Waukee Elementary
Mohad Awan Surgery Center of Des Moines – West
Jacob Bliss Iowa ENT Center
Erin Bramble Iowa Cubs
Jared Brdicko BDI Designs
Josh Brdicko Flying Hippo
Matt Corbett Dahl’s Pharmacy
Natalie Deerr Ofenbakh Law Office
Julie Gunderson House of Mercy
Matt Hayden Iowa ENT Center – research
Claudia Hernandez Greater Des Moines Partnership
Alyssa Hewitt Hubbell Realty
Carly Hewitt Spindustry
Brianna Jones Animal Care Clinic West
Austin Krohnke Accelerated Rehabilitation
Rachel Lienemann Kuder
Dellan Llewellyn KJWW Engineering
Reid Loftsgard Pioneer
Cassidy Longnecker Keller Williams/Creative Leap Inc.
Gabby Magee Drake Relays
Tatum McDonald ITA Group
Morgan McLaughlin Des Moines Menace/Waukee Rotary
Eric Meier Waukee YMCA
Sarah Nelson Dallas County News
Gabby O’Leary Waukee Wellness
Henry Oberman Dallas County Sheriff’s Office
Caitie Oder Metabank
Emily Olson Fashion Merchandising – ISU
Kanchi Rekha Mercy
Ross Reynolds Ryan Companies
Allen Robles Iowa Ortho – River Hills Surgery Center
Celine Robles Mercy West Pediatrics Clinic
Kayla Sabotin Waukee Chamber of Commerce
Sydney Slagter HR Green Engineering
Keely Smith Des Moines Arts Festival
Madi Smith Surgery Center of Des Moines West
Mallory Smith Lifepoint Dental
Alex Smolik Berkshire Dental
Cait Spackman Jordan Creek Animal Hospital
Alan Vongnhay Lutheran Church of Hope
Kenadie Wicks Iowa ENT Center – Research
Taylor Wingert Hubbell Realty – Accounting
Morgan Wright Iowa Senate – Democratic Staff
560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701