Iowa Learns™

Iowa Learns logo

​​​​​​​​Iowa Learns™​ is a Work-Based Learning model for Iowa high school students based on federal law that provides a student learner exception for certain hazardous occupations. 29 C.F.R. § 570.50(c). It represents an early entry into the workforce.

​​​​​​​​Iowa Learns™​ encompasses one of DMACC’s Work-Based Learning initiatives and will involve a working partnership between high school students, parents, the College, school districts and businesses. The goal is to give students the opportunity to explore paid career opportunities and grow Iowa’s skilled workforce.​

How it Works

  • DMACC will act as a clearing house listing participating companies and the desired Iowa Learns™ positions.
  • School districts will work with interested students and help match them to participating businesses.
  • DMACC will then work with the businesses to develop the required credit or noncredit curriculum so that the student can be successful in the position. This will include payment for the student’s work.
  • Upon completion of the program students will gain new and useful skills while becoming work-ready for entry-level positions.
  • Students will receive a certificate documenting skills gained.​

Advantages for Business​

  • Address immediate needs and help satisfy workforce shortages.
  • Build a strong pipeline of potential long-term employees.
  • Give students skills-training and emersion in organizational culture.
    Businesses drive the curriculum and training.
  • ​Offers employees an opportunity for stackable credentials which can lead to a degree later​​.

Advantages for School Districts

  • Iowa Learns™ is alternative and less formal model to Registered Apprenticeships.
  • Student experiences can easily be written into the District plan and Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) strategies.
  • Broadens potential career options and exploration for students.
  • Offers students an opportunity for stackable credentials – receiving work-ready training that can lead to a degree.
  • Students completing Iowa Learns™ will receive a Certificate designating their accomplishments and acquired skills.
  • Schools can partner with DMACC to offer Work-Based Learning (WBL) courses to the students and may qualify for supplemental funding.
  • Articulation Agreements will be in place to allow students to receive credit for their work experiences.​​​​
  • Connects students to work-based learning experiences with a simple agreement. U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) registration and reporting is not necessary.
  • Helps address the Governor’s directive that high schools provide work-based learning opportunities for its students.​

To start the conversation

Contact: Work Based Learning at

For more than 50 years, DMACC has played a vital role within Iowa communities, preparing workers for rewarding careers, and satisfying workforce needs for businesses. The College offers 220 programs, certificates and transfer degrees, and annually serves nearly 60,000 students across the College’s six campuses and seven learning centers. DMACC’s talented graduates excel in the workforce and in life. Iowa Learns™ is DMACC’s newest initiative that provides an alternative to Apprenticeships with a simple agreement and with no Department of Labor (DOL) registration or reporting.