Internship Orientation

2017-2018 school year is coming up quickly. Cedar Valley West internship program will be hosting several orientation sessions throughout the month of August. Students currently enrolled in the internship class or are thinking about an internship 1st trimester will need to attend. There are several new internship possibilities throughout each community. Please contact Mrs. Ascher for more information.  See below for times, dates and locations.

Date Time Location
Wednesday, August 2 10 AM – 12 PM Western Outreach Center
Wednesday, August 9 12:30 PM -2:30 PM Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS
Monday, August 14 1 PM – 3 PM Dike-New Hartford HS
Wednesday, August 16 10 AM -12 PM Aplington-Parkersburg HS
Wednesday, August 16 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Western Outreach Center
Monday, August 21 12:30 PM  – 2:30 PM Grundy Center HS

2015-2016 School Year Concludes

This school year was very rewarding. During this school year, many work-based learning opportunities took place among the Cedar Valley West schools.  Each school participated in job shadows, internships, event tours (Advanced Manufacturing, IT, Construction and Health Care), took field trips and had guest speakers come into the classrooms.

As the year concludes, I wanted to share a few milestones accomplished by Cedar Valley Career Connections which Cedar Valley West is a partner of.

Students interested in internships next school year should contact Mrs. Ascher as soon as possible or fill out this form 2016-2017 Internship Request Form.

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The internships were completed by just the Cedar Valley West Schools.

Grundy County Memorial Hospital


Grundy County Memorial Hospital has been a huge supporter of Cedar Valley West again this school year.  They have hosted over 70 job shadows, 15 internships, provided guest speakers and hosted a health care week tour.

Students have been fortunate to experience a little taste of the “real life” as a nurse, surgeon, dietitian, occupational therapist, physical therapist, lab technician, surgical scheduler, accountant, as well as, other areas such as marketing and purchasing and logistics.

Cedar Valley West is proud to have Grundy County Memorial Hospital as a partner providing students endless opportunities in health care.


Madeline Mussig, senior from Gladbrook-Reinbeck and Sydney Hogle, senior from Grundy Center interned with the Marketing Department and assisted putting together the dessert table for this year’s gala.


Mrs. Schuller’s Health I class learning the ins and outs of the Emergency Department.

Welcome Back!

Monday, August 24th is the first day back for the 2015-2016 school year.  As of August 3rd Stacy Ascher has assumed the position of Cedar Valley West Coordinator.  She is looking forward to working with students, staff and local businesses providing unique learning opportunities for all.  If you would like to discuss how you can enroll in the Internship program, applying for a job shadow or becoming a partner, please contact her at [email protected]

1st Annual Appreciation and Celebration Breakfast

On Thursday, May 9th, Cedar Valley West will be celebrating one year of success and showing our appreciation to the businesses and professionals who have supported us. We are excited to share our most recent data, here from students and business hosts in the program and a message from CVW Director Sherri Walker and the CVW Superintendents.

John Deere: Tractor Works Worksite Tour April 24th.

Cedar Valley West is excited to open registration for the John Deere Tractor Works worksite tour scheduled April 24, 2013. Registration is open to any high school student who attends A-P, D-NH, G-R or Grundy Center Community Schools. This is a very popular worksite tour and will fill fast. Registration only takes two minutes.

Our tour will start promptly at 10:00 a.m. The tour will last 90 minutes. A special discussion panel will also be included after the tour. This panel will be made up of employees, supervisors, and human resource department personnel who will talk more specifically about work-life at John Deere, career opportunities, and answer any questions.

Please note: Closed-toe shoes are mandatory. No cell phones are permitted on this tour. No exceptions can be made. A parent permission form must also be filled out to attend. That form will be passed out through your high school office after your registration is reviewed. The student will have three days to return the form or their spot will become available to the next interested person.

Click here to register for the John Deere Tractor Works Worksite Tour. 

Please contact Sherri Walker with any questions: [email protected] or by cell 515.681.0725.

Peterson Contractors Inc. (PCI)

Thursday, March 21, Mr. VanderPol and Mrs. Walker took 14 students to visit PCI in Reinbeck. Students were introduced to the company PCI, career opportunities, and toured facilities, the yard, and equipment.

PCI was founded by Cordell Peterson in 1964. They are in the heavy and highway construction business and certified installer for Geopier Foundation Company. Services performed are heavy earthwork, site work, bridges, box culverts, retaining walls, demolition, raw and recycled material processing, and specialty construction services including deep foundations, soil retention structures, micropiles, and soil stabilization. PCI has a presence world wide, hosting an international summer conference yearly in the Reinbeck, IA headquarters.

PCI not only employs construction craftsmen, they employ certified public accountants, project managers, graduate engineers, professional engineers, a safety director, mechanics, heavy equipment operators and foreman. During their peak season PCI will employ 350-425 employees.

Thank-you PCI for hosting Cedar Valley West students from Grundy Center and Aplington-Parkersburg High Schools. There are currently three senior students signed up to attend a heavy equipment operators school in northwest Iowa and have expressed in interest in returning to the Cedar Valley Region to work for PCI! 

QUESTION: “What do they mean by soft skills?”

I love this question today! ANSWER: Although unique core competencies are still sought after, employers are still searching for what has been termed “soft skills.” The truth is: hiring managers have always been searching for candidates who exhibit these skills. Three years ago I was introduced to a list of soft skills local employers in the Cedar Valley viewed as important and lacking amongst potential candidates. Partnerships were formed with educators to reestablish the importance of employability and soft skills for those entering the job market.
Soft skills are a combination of personal qualities, habits, attitude and social style that makes you compatible to work with and in others’ perception, “a good employee.” Most common soft skills include: a good work ethic, working collaboratively, communication skills (verbal /non-verbal to include the ability to listen), time management, flexibility and self-confidence. The most important one I have been hearing, aside from listening, is the ability to ACCEPT criticism and LEARN from it. Employees and leaders should be coachable.
Over the past year the term “soft skills” is growing in popularity amongst executives and hiring managers. Sitting in meetings, attending conferences and having conversations the term seems to be springing up everywhere.
A shift is happening in the job market. Some employers believe if candidates have these skills; they can teach them what they need to know to do the job. It is about being able to creatively solve problems, be agile, adaptable and accepting of change.
“How do you educate your students’ awareness related to employability skills and soft skills?” the HR assistant, at world-renowned manufacturing businesses, asked me. I am able to answer this question confidently. We address these issues by having discussions, self-reflection, and identification activities with our students. Looking into the future, I hope to use the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) as part of our well rounded model.

Corrections & Police Science Trip

The State of Iowa Training School for Boys, Central Iowa Juvenile Detention Center and Hardin County Sheriff’s Department all took time to speak with a couple of students who are planning a career centered around corrections and police science.

These three service businesses provide a variety of career opportunities to our local communities and Cedar Valley West region. Together they employ approximately 300 people. Ask around in your neighborhood and I am sure you will find someone who knows someone working here. Why? Because they offer great career opportunities with benefits, higher and promote locally, and want to see you succeed. Located 17 miles west of Grundy Center and twenty-eight miles south west of Aplington makes commuting easy.

Career Opportunities: 

Various Administrative and Director roles
Youth Service Workers
Sheriff Deputies
Correction Officers
Dietary services
Dispatchers and E911 Operators
Client Service Coordinators
Administrative Assistants

Find more information by clicking on each business name above. This will direct you to their official website and provide application material or links.

21st Century Skills: Entrepreneurial Thinking

What do these people have in common besides being rich?
Oprah Winfrey             Larry Ellison            Estée Lauder
Steve Jobs                  Bill Gates                 Mary Kay Ash
Devin Rose                  Henry Ford              Sir Richard Branson
Mark Zuckerberg        Sarah Blakely

They’re all entrepreneurs. They got to their level of prestige and wealth by using entrepreneurial skills that can be learned by anyone. An entrepreneurial personality is essential for success in the twenty-first century. Think like an entrepreneur so you can excel in your career.

In a article “How to Train Your Mind to Become an Entrepreneur,” author Monica Mehta discusses how to develop entrepreneurial thinking.

What is an entrepreneurial instinct (personality)? It’s the mental toughness that drives you to make something from nothing. It’s a way of thinking that allows you to take smart risks, thrive during uncertainty and bounce back from failure. It’s the reason why a dropout occasionally becomes a billionaire. (Example: As a park ranger, you might find a small cave in a hill for small animals during cold weather.)

Can anyone be an entrepreneur? If you have the willingness and persistence to keep at it when the road gets rough, you can be an entrepreneur. (Example: If you never give up until a difficult customer is satisfied, you think like an entrepreneur.)

What would you say some of the top entrepreneurship traits are? Entrepreneurs take action. They’re flexible and adaptable. They roll with the punches. (Example: As a project leader, you reverse an important decision when you see it was a bad choice.)

Which traits do every entrepreneur have in common? Persistence, optimism and resourcefulness are traits that popped up over and over in interviews with the dozens of successful entrepreneurs for my book The Entrepreneurial Instinct. (Example: You think like an entrepreneur if you believe there are answers to most work problems and you keep trying until you find the answers.)

More information may be found on the internet by conducting a search using the entrepreneurs name. Read about how they made their fortune. To find out whether you are an entrepreneurial thinker, compare your traits to those named by Monica Mehta.