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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  see the continuing education courses listed here.

Contact Amy Steenhoek with questions.


(Listed In Date Order)

Event: Ankeny High School Competitive Robotics Camp (Open to all ACSD students entering 9th – 12th grade)

Date/Times: Monday – Friday, June 10 – 14, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Location: Ankeny High School, Rooms 1109 and 1110

This camp is intended for students entering grades 9 – 12 who have an interest in joining one of Ankeny’s high school competitive robotics teams. Students will work with mentors and members of the robotics teams to learn the basics of using tools safely, bot building, coding, CAD design, and problem solving. Safety goggles will be required and are provided. No experience necessary! Students just need a curious mind, willingness to work with others, and a positive growth mindset. We can teach you the rest! Participation in this summer camp will be considered when robotics teams form in the fall.

Contact with questions: Jennifer Poole (
Cost: $150
Registration: Robotics Camp Signup

Event: JA BizTown in a Day

Dates: (Pick One Day)

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2024
  • Thursday, June 20, 2024
  • Monday, June 24, 2024
  • Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Time: 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Location: Junior Achievement of Central Iowa, 6100 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA

JA BizTown in a Day presented by HomeServices Lending is geared towards students entering 5th-8th grades. Discover what it takes to be a business tycoon, or a future CEO, CFO or Mayor! JA BizTown is just the place to encourage career ambitions. Join us for a one-day experience that develops future leaders, business professionals, and entrepreneurs. Your student will experience all facets of running a business in a fun and interactive way. Students run JA BizTown and take on roles that will stay with them for a lifetime. Students who have
previously come to JA BizTown with their school will be guaranteed a different job. Lunch and T-shirts are provided to all students and friend requests are welcome.

Cost: $100/student. Includes lunch, t-shirt and prizes
Registration: JA Biztown for a Day Registration

Event: Skilled Trades Camp

Date/Times: June 25-26, 2024
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Location: Multiple Locations (see description below)

Description: Participants will be traveling to Kline Electric, Kline’s jobsites, the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, and the Carpenters Training Institute. They will tour facilities and do hands-on activities in the electrical, carpentry and utilities trades.

Cost: There is no cost to students to attend. Lunch will be provided. Students will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the Ankeny District office then ride a bus to the various locations.

Registration: Skilled Trades Camp Registration

For questions, please contact Amy Steenhoek@

Event: Adventures In Architecture Day Camp at Drake University

Dates: Monday, June 24, 2024 through Friday, June 28, 2024
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Drake University, 2507 University Ave.., Des Moines
Ages: Students Entering 7th or 8th Grade in Fall 2024

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 will include hands-on, immersive learning projects and first-hand encounters with design professionals who work in our communities. See the registration link below for more information.

Cost: $250/student. Includes lunch. Limited need-based scholarships are available. Email inquire.
Registration: Architecture Day Camp Registration

Event: Civic Leadership Academy

Date/Times: July 8-10, 2024
Location: Drake University

Description: The Civic Leadership Academy is an exclusive opportunity for high school juniors to learn from scholars, policymakers, and thought leaders. The Academy will immerse 25 select high school juniors in an intensive and rewarding leadership development program that will give students the skills to stand out as student leaders. Interested students need to apply through a written or video essay.

Cost: There is no cost to students to attend; meals, lodging, and fun evening activities will be provided. Students will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa.

Application: Submit your written or video essay by March 31, 2024. Email any questions to Hilary at For more information and the application submission page, visit

Event: Nurse Camp

Dates: Pick one session
July 11 & 12, 2024
August 1 & 2, 2024

Time: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Location: Iowa Methodist Medical Center (1200 Pleasant Street, Des Moines, IA)

Description: Students entering 7th and 8th grade: Join us for a 2-day immersive experience to discover what it is like to be a nurse. The camp will include First Aid & CPR Certification, hands-on skills labs, simulated bedside patient care, access to nurse role models, “amazing race- nurse edition,” escape room, and more!

Cost: $75. Scholarships are available. Space is limited so register early.
Questions: 515-241-6811

Event: RISE with WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering)

Date/Times: Two Sessions: July 9-12, 2024 and July 16-19, 2024
Location: Iowa State University

Description: RISE with WiSE is a residential summer experience that provides opportunities for rising 11th and 12th graders to explore campus life by participating in hands-on STEM presentations and exploring STEM majors at Iowa State University. We will challenge you to get out of your academic comfort zone while experiencing what a week in the life of an Iowa State College student would be like. Throughout the summer experience, students participate in 4-5 hands-on STEM sessions that are presented by faculty, staff, and students. Additional activities include exploring student campus life by doing things such as visiting the ISU Creamery, Cy Bowling, Furman Aquatic Center, and much more! Detailed agenda forthcoming.

Cost: $200 (Financial assistance can be requested within the registration form (cost includes housing, meals, t-shirt, fanny pack, some WiSE/ISU merch, and all on-campus expenses)


Event: Junior Achievement Women in Business Workshop

Date/Times: Thursday, July 11, 2024/9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: Junior Achievement of Central Iowa (6100 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312)

Description: Participants will engage in a variety of activities, lessons and conversations throughout the day surrounding important topics with take-aways that they can apply to their lives now; topics include leadership skills, financial literacy, career-readiness skills, goal-setting and communication & collaboration.

This event is limited to 50 female participants. Participants must be between ages 14 – 21 years of age by July 11, 2024.

Cost: There is no registration fee and lunch is included.

Questions: Contact Jordan Allen at

Event: Business Horizons (Coordinated by Iowa Association of Business and Industry)

Date/Times: July 14-18, 2024
Location: Drake University

Description: 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: Register on or before May 27: $350
Register after May 27: $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.


Event: Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Date/Times: July 14-19, 2024
Location: Grinnell College

Description: RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) is a life-changing leadership training program for youth where leadership skills and principles are taught in an atmosphere of trust and respect. The purpose of RYLA is to assist potential youth leaders in methods of responsible and effective leadership. A subtext of the RYLA program is the development of confidence and self esteem. Many participants have said, “It was the best week of my life!”

Cost: Iowa Rotary clubs in Districts 5970 and 6000 sponsor students to participate in this 6-day leadership conference and pay the $500 registration fee.

Registration: High school sophomores and juniors (2023-24 school year) may apply. Generally, applicants selected have excelled in one or more areas of high school involvement, have proven leadership experience or have shown leadership potential. Applicants must be able to stay for all 6 days of the conference. Click here for the student application

Event: Casey’s Business Camp

Date/Times: July 16-18, 2024 (9:00am – 2:00pm each day)
Location: Casey’s Corporate Support Center, 1 SE Convenience Blvd., Ankeny, IA

Description: 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 students who are entering 9th – 12th grade in the Fall of 2024 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 is provided each day.
Registration: Casey’s Business Camp Registration
Application Deadline: July 1, 2024 or until capacity is reached.

Event: Hero Academy Camp

Date/Times: July 28 – Aug. 3, 2024
Location: Camp Dodge, Johnston, IA

Description: The Iowa Hero Academy Provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for young women ages 16-18 in Central Iowa to explore careers in firefighting, policing and the military. This camp is run by the Des Moines Police Department, the Des Moines Fire Department and the Iowa National Guard. It is a 6 day, overnight camp designed to encourage young women to reach their potential by developing leadership skills, teamwork, and self-confidence. Activities include:

  • Hands on training in firearm simulations, defensive tactics, hydrant and hose activities, search and rescue drills
  • Ride along with DMPD on calls
  • Career Panels
  • Training drills in firefighting, law enforcement, military exercises and effective emergency decision-making

Cost:  Free


Application Deadline: April 1, 2024


(Listed In Alphabetical Order)

Company: Ankeny Fire Department
Description: The Ankeny Fire Department’s Ride-Along Program allows current Fire and EMS students to experience, firsthand, the satisfaction in helping our citizens during an emergency. This program provides a closer look at what firefighting and EMS are and how you can pursue this as a career.  Observers are welcome to schedule either a six or 12-hour shift Monday through Saturday, between 7 AM and 7 PM.
Request Form:  Ankeny Fire Department Ride Along Request Form and Information

Company: Ankeny Police Department
The Ankeny Police Department has established a community Ride-Along Program to enhance the relationship between the community and the Ankeny Police Department. This program is designed to be an educational opportunity for residents or business owners to view firsthand police practices, procedures, and activity within our community. Participants must pass a background check. Ride-along requests are granted at the discretion of the Ankeny Police Department. The rides usually last 2 to 4 hours and many observers prefer the busiest times of the day, which are 2 PM and 10 PM.
Request Form: Ankeny Police Department Ride Along Request Form and Information

Company: Blank Park Zoo

Are you thinking about working at a zoo someday but not sure what it’s all about or where to start? Have questions for current staff and keepers? Then a job shadow is just for you! Students will explore various career opportunities at the Zoo, learn about the mission of the Zoo and the importance of our conservation work and spend time working alongside the team of their choice. Additionally they will learn how all these areas work together to create a successful non-profit and fulfill the mission of the Zoo.
Request Form:  Blank Park Zoo Job Shadow Information and Registration 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: 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: 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


(Listed In Date Order)

Iowa Insurance Division Internship
Who: High School Juniors or Seniors. Must be at least 16 years old.
When: A 10-week program beginning approximately June 3, 2024
Where: IID Office located at 1963 Bell Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa
Apply: Please submit your resume by January 15, 2024. For more information or to apply please send your resume and cover letter with attention to Linda Heintz at

This paid internship will allow you to gain real world experience in the insurance industry through an internship as an insurance regulator. A student interested in areas of accounting, actuary science, computer science, data analytics, mathematics, economics, marketing, insurance or securities sales, investigations or prosecutions of administrative insurance law violations, criminal fraud investigations, insurance legislation and rulemaking, or communications may find this unique opportunity extremely appealing. Interns will receive one-on-one mentorship, personalized training, early exposure to a possible career pathway and the opportunity to earn an Associate Professional in Insurance Regulation Designation.

MidAmerican High School Summer Internships
Date: Summer 2024
Description: Power up your future with a one-of-a kind internship at Midamerican Energy. Build up your resume and gain professional experience, while working beside our expert staff who support front-line operations, customer service and business administration. Earn $16/hour with the opportunity to work up to 40 hours a week throughout the summer. Develop skills in areas like:

  • Accounting
  • Administrative
  • Customer Operations
  • Data Entry
  • Mapping
  • Research

Requirements: Must be 16 years old. Essay. Letter of Recommendation. Parent/Guardian Consent Form.
To Apply and for More Information: Email

Polk County Conservation Crew Member
Date: Spring 2024
Description: Polk County Conservation Youth Corps engages and inspires diverse youth through hands-on environmental stewardship projects, outdoor recreation, and conservation education. Youth Corps offers paid service-learning opportunities for ages 14+ in Polk County, Iowa. We have spring, summer, and fall options for Crew Members (ages 14-18) and summer positions for Crew Leaders (ages 19+). Join us!

Work: 5 weeks – Tuesdays & Thursdays after school + 3 Saturdays
Meet:TBD (Tues/Thurs. 4:30 – 8:00 pm, Sat. 8am – 3:00pm)
Dates: March 26 – April 28, 2024
Earn: $400 Stipend + Overnight camping trip
Apply: Applications close Feb. 15, 2024
For more information and to apply open the link to

Polk County Sheriff’s Office: National Public Safety Cadets (Open the cadet flyer  for more details).
Description: Public safety cadets is a nationally recognized organization that partners with law enforcement agencies to provide training and practical experiences, and other support that will better prepare young adults to make an informed decision about a career in the public safety sector.

  • Membership open to young adults interested in a career in law enforcement.
  • Must be a graduate of the 8th grade and 14 years old.
  • No-cost membership and uniforms provided.
  • Silver cord hours recorded and provided to your school.
  • Month training sessions, community outreach events and activities, job shadowing, ride-alongs
  • GPA must be higher than 2.0
  • Background check required
  • Virtual Interview (Open to those 14* years of age and older to learn about job functions & responsibilities)

Application: For details, please review the  interest letter and application from Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Questions can be directed to : or 515-286-3015.

Des Moines Police Department Explorer Post #21
Description: Career oriented program aimed at preparing teenagers for the future. This program is for 12 to 19 years old. The Explorers get hands on experience with:

  • working with police officers
  • experience with police equipment
  • the different areas within the police department
  • attend meetings
  • attend conferences
  • enter competitions
  • assist with recreational activities

Application: You can reach SPO Nathan Nemmers at for questions or to sign up.

Iowa Communications Network: Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council
Description: Our Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council (SYBAC) is an opportunity for high school students to discuss broadband and technology topics, learn about Iowa technology companies, discover careers, and network with peers. No advanced technical knowledge is required.

We are interested in hearing from students who are passionate about technology whether it be…apps, gaming, cybersecurity, fiber optics or something else. This opportunity will introduce students to a variety of technology aspects that are around Iowans each day.

Students obtain a cybersecurity certification, interact with industry leaders, start building their networks, and can add participation to their college applications or resumes.

Know a student who is interested? Here’s what they need to know.

  • Students entering 10th – 12th grades may apply.
  • Monthly meetings by video conference on the second Tuesday at 2 PM.
  • SYBAC runs September 2024 through April 2025.
  • Students: Submit a Membership Application.
  • Teachers: Complete the Teacher Recommendation.

To learn more visit:

Sam’s Club High School Internship
Date: Summer 2024

Description: Sam’s Club is currently offering a 10-week Summer Internship for high school students. This internship will give students valuable work experience in the retail industry with emphasis on customer service skills, technology-enabled services, and interpersonal relationship skills. In addition to working during the program, the associate will have access to many benefits at Sam’s Club, including associate discounts, financial wellbeing instruction, and access to our Live Better University education options. Live Better U is our partnership with Guild Education that allows your students to work for Sam’s Club while enjoying no-cost college tuition to several universities where they can earn a degree of their choosing in 30+ fields.

  • $16/hr pay
  • FREE college degree opportunities, great benefits, networking, and exposure to business world programs
  • Students will need a committed work availability from 16-30 hours/week

To Apply and for More Information: Member Frontline – High School Intern  |   Sam’s Club Internship Brochure