Iowa STEM Blog

Tuesday, November 11, 2021

By: Diane Young, Foundation Analytical Laboratory Owner and Director of Technical Services and STEM Council Co-Chair


The Future Ready Iowa Summit was such a great day for educational transformation and workplace preparation! The various speakers, breakout sessions and discussions challenged and motivated me even more to drive work-readiness in Iowa.

We heard from students, educators and employers, who shared their first-hand perspective on what is still needed to prepare our students for high-demand careers in our state.

As an employer, I have faced that need in Cherokee, Iowa. Foundation Analytical Laboratory began with two employees and an intern in 2009. The lab now employs more than two dozen skilled Iowans. As we continue to grow, it is critical that today’s youth have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from local workplaces in order to ensure they are adequately prepared and informed about the opportunity within the state.

Authentic learning experiences is key to driving home the importance and application of skills and lessons that are being taught in the classroom. It makes a connection to learning that simply cannot be made elsewhere.

At this year’s Summit, employers and state leaders shared examples of what is already working from an economic, education and workforce perspective, along with ideas for transformational action.

I encouraged Summit attendees, and I’d like to encourage all Iowans, to identify just one step you can take to advance work-based learning in your community and your sphere of influence. If all of us take one step, think about the difference we will see in our state one year from now.

Thank you for doing your part. I’m excited to see what the future holds for our great state.

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