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Career Exploration


We have a wide range of career exploration opportunities to help you find your passion and prepare for your dream job. Our career exploration programs include internships, job shadowing, mentorship programs, informational interviews with professionals in various fields, career fairs, and networking events. Whether you’re a high school student or in middle school, we have programs and resources to help you explore different careers, gain valuable experience, and connect with industry professionals. Let us help you take the first step towards a fulfilling and rewarding career.

For more opportunities please view our course catalog.

Contact Amy Steenhoek with questions.


Company: MercyOne
We are happy to help coordinate a day and time for you to job shadow. We require that you send your request a month ahead as the process is subject to approval from the departmental managers. Also, note that a HIPPA, Confidentiality Agreement, Medical Disclosure & Screen Statement, and flu shot vaccination are required before you can job shadow at MercyOne Des Moines. Must be a junior in high school or older.
Request Form: MercyOne Job Shadow Request Form

Company: Broadlawns
4-8 hour time frame. Provides students experiences to observe actual health care professionals. If you are interested in identifying and securing your job shadow experience, please see our approval process and requirements. In addition to the required application documents, job shadow applicants must also provide the following:
Proof of two MMRs or titer, Proof of TB test within the last year, Signed Medical Release (if under 18 years old) – this must be completed by a parent or guardian
All paperwork must be submitted at least 30 days in advance. Once all paperwork is submitted, you will be contacted within two weeks to schedule your job shadowing experience.
Request Form: Broadlawns Job Shadow Request Form

Company: UnityPoint – Des Moines
Choose from the following experiences:

  • In-Person Interview (open to 16 & older to learn about job functions & responsibilities)
  • In-Person Observation (open to 16 & older. In-person observations consist of a designated team member showing various day-to-day job responsibilities in the area of your choice)
    Observations available
  • Virtual Interview (Open to those 14* years of age and older to learn about job functions & responsibilities)
    Request Form: UnityPoint Des Moines Job Shadow Request Form



Skilled Trades Camp

(Coordinated by ACSD)
Date: June 19-23, 2023
Time: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

ACSD 9-12th graders are invited to join us for our 2nd annual Skilled Trades Camp, hosted by Ankeny Community School District and Des Moines Home Builders Association. Students will explore opportunities in the areas of architecture and engineering, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, masonry and lineman through speakers, jobsite/business tours and hands-on activities. Capacity is limited to 25 students.

Cost: Free. Lunch and transportation to locations will be provided.

Registration: Skilled Trades Camp Registration

Junior Achievement Biztown Summer Camp

(Coordinated by Junior Achievement)
Date/Times: Two Sessions to choose from:
June 19-22, 2023 •  9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

June 26-29, 2023 • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Location: Junior Achievement-Central Iowa • 6100 Grand Avenue, Des Moines IA, 50312

JA BizTown Summer Camp is an indoor, academic camp geared towards students entering grades 5-7. This camp is designed to educate and enhance the camper’s financial literacy learning while infusing entrepreneurship, work and career readiness, team work, marketing, philanthropy and public speaking. 

Cost: $230 ($15 off when you register 2 people)


Casey’s Business Camp

(Coordinated by ACSD)
Date: June 27-29, 2023
: Casey’s Story Support Center, 1 SE Convenience Blvd., Ankeny, IA

You’re probably familiar with stopping at Casey’s to get your favorite slice of pizza, but did you know Casey’s Store Support Center (company headquarters) is located in Ankeny? We invite Ankeny Community School District 9-12th grade students to join us this summer for Casey’s Business Camp.  You will have the opportunity to explore business functions at Casey’s including General Business, Store Operations, Supply Chain Management, Fuel Operations, Food Service, Construction Management, Merchandising and Human Resources. Capacity is limited to 20 students. 

Cost: Free (Lunch Provided)

Registration: Casey’s Business Camp Registration

MercyOne Patient Care Technician Training Program + Part Time Job

Date/Times for Training: May 30 – June 16 or July 10 – Aug. 4 (8:00 AM – 4:30 PM)
Location: Des Moines MercyOne

A great opportunity for any student 16  years or older that is interested in a Health Care Career. This would be a great way to gain foundational skills, secure a part-time job, and network with professionals in the Health Care industry. This 4-week training program is full-time while completing the paid training (2 weeks classroom, 2 weeks on-the-job training). After program completion, students will transition into a part-time as needed status and be able to pick up shifts as their schedule allows. Please keep in mind that this program is an opportunity that leads to employment in one of MeryOne’s nursing units upon successful completion of the class. Compensation range is $15 – 18/hr. Students must have reliable transportation to and from work.

Contact: Helen Smith

Junior Achievement EntrepreneuHER Workshop

Date: July 11, 2023
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Junior Achievement-Central Iowa • 6100 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312

The JA Female Entrepreneur Workshop is a 1-day event focused on empowering high school aged girls by giving them the tools and confidence to pursue their dreams. Event includes mini lessons on running a business, professional headshots, career interest inventory, and local entrepreneur guest speakers and mentors. Capacity is limited to 25 female participants entering 9-12th grade for the 2023-24 school year.

Cost: Free. Lunch is provided.

Registration: JA EntrepreneuHER Workshop

Business Horizons

(Coordinated by Iowa Association of Business and Industry)
Date: July 16 – 20
Location: Drake University

Business Horizons is a weeklong summer program for Iowa high school students (grades 9-12) designed to provide unique first-hand college and career experience, foster personal growth and promote leadership development through team-based activities, entrepreneurial competitions and action-packed fun!

Cost: On/Before May 29: $350 • After May 29: $400

Participation fees cover lodging, meals, materials and activities for the week. Requests for financial assistance may be made on the registration as scholarships are available.


2023 Adventures in Architecture Summer Day Camp

Date: Mon, July 24 – Fri, July 28
Time: 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Location: Drake University (Carnegie Hall 2507 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50311)

Program Overview:

This weeklong day camp offers middle schoolers the opportunity to explore their interest in buildings and architecture. Open to students entering 7th and 8th grades, Adventures in Architecture Camp offers hands-on, immersive learning projects and first-hand encounters with design professionals who work in our communities.

Cost: $250.00

Registration: Adventures in Architecture

BullD.O.G.S. in Healthcare 2023: In-Person Camp

Date: July 27, 2023 – 4 pm through July 29 – 1 pm CDT
Location: Drake University (Carnegie Hall 2507 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50311)

Program Overview:

BullD.O.G.S. in Healthcare is a program that will introduce you to careers in the health care professions by educating you about opportunities in health sciences and inspiring you to explore different pathways. You will participate in hands-on laboratory experiences, educational sessions, and interactive discussions with students and faculty in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to understand how to best prepare for a career in health care. Special emphasis is placed on promoting careers in athletic training, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and many others. The overarching goal of this program is to expose you to a wide variety of opportunities within health care and educate you about how you can best prepare for a career in the health professions.

Cost: $200

Registration: BullD.O.G.S. in Healthcare registration

Polk County Conservation Crew Member

Date: Fall 2023
Location: TBD
Ages: 14-18

The 8-week fall session meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school (4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) and four Saturdays (8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.). This crew experience will include two overnight camping trips in Iowa during the session, each one paired with one of our Saturday workdays.

Work | 8 weeks – Tuesdays & Wednesdays after school + 4 Saturdays + 1 Sunday
Earn | $650 Stipend + Overnight camping trip
Apply | Applications close August 2023