Skip to content

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.


(Listed In Date Order)

Event: Seminar Career Connections

Join us during seminar time (1:37-2:06 pm) to visit with professionals that work in the below careers. Sign up for one or more dates at your high school using the registration link below.

Location: Ankeny High School Guidance Office Career Center

  • AHS: Tuesday, February 20, 2024: DMACC Auto Programs
  • AHS: Tuesday, March 5, 2024: Cyber Security
  • AHS: Tuesday, March 26, 2024: Construction

Location: Centennial High School Guidance Office Career Center

  • ACHS: Thursday, February 23, 2024: DMACC Auto Programs
  • ACHS: Thursday, February 29, 2024: Cyber Security
  • ACHS: Thursday, March 21, 2024: Real Estate
  • ACHS: Thursday, March 28, 2024: Construction

Registration: Seminar Career Connections Sign Up

Event: Manufacturing Day at DMACC

Date/Times: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024 (9:15 PM – 2:00 PM)
Location: DMACC Ankeny (Building 3E)

Come to DMACC’s Ankeny campus for the best hands-on opportunity to learn about the innovative and exciting world of manufacturing! Guests will experience a working Welding and Tool and Die lab to understand what it takes to make products from our daily life from design to end user. Local employers will be present to discuss their industry and opportunities in the field today. Lunch will be provided.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Manufacturing Day at DMACC Registration

Event: Explore Education Day at DMACC

Date/Times: Thursday, February 22, 2024 (9:15 AM – 1:30 PM)
Location: DMACC Ankeny (Building 5)

Are you interested in a career in education? During this event, students will hear from educators and administrators at the state and local levels, interact with DMACC instructors and staff to learn about DMACC’s Pre-Education program and the DMACC experience. Hear from teachers and administrators during breakout sessions, visit resource booths, and learn more about STEM. Lunch will be provided.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Explore Education Day at DMACC Registration

Event: Explore Insurance Careers with Farm Bureau Financial

Date/Times: Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Location: Farm Bureau Financial, 5400 University Ave., West Des Moines, IA

This event is for high school & college students that provides an introduction to the insurance industry with speakers from a variety of careers! It’s a great opportunity to see what Farm Bureau has to offer & to build your professional network.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Insurance Career Day at Farm Bureau Financial Registration

Event: Explore Criminal Justice Careers at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Date/Times: Tuesday, March 5, 2024 (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Location: Polk County Sheriff’s Office, 5995 NE 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50313

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is opening their doors to highlight a variety of careers in criminal justice. During this event, students will explore careers in detective work, dispatch and patrol, and learn more about what it takes to preserve the integrity of the law, while protecting and serving the public. As part of the day, students will see behind the scenes of where an emergency call comes in, the dispatching of the patrol unit, to the steps involved in detective work used to solve a crime!

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Explore Criminal Justice Careers at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Registration

Event: Explore Information Technology Day at DMACC West

Date/Times: Thursday, March 7, 2024 (9:15 AM – 1:30 PM)
Location: DMACC West Campus (5959 Grand Ave., West Des Moines, IA)

Are you fascinated by the world of technology? Eager to explore the dynamic realms of cybersecurity, network administration, programming, and the internal workings of servers? Look no further! We invite all high school students to embark on an incredible journey at our IT Exploration Day! You will also connect with a diverse panel of IT professionals who have mastered the tech landscape. Hear their personal journeys, learn about exciting career paths, and gain valuable insights into the ever-evolving IT industry. Lunch will be provided.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Explore Information Technology ay at DMACC West Registration

Event: Explore Broadcasting & Video Production Careers at Iowa PBS

Date/Times: Friday, March 22, 2024 (9:30 AM – 12:00 PM)
Location: Iowa PBS, 6450 Corporate Drive, Johnston, IA

Iowa PBS, Iowa’s only statewide television broadcasting network, creates quality, innovative media and services that educate, inform, enrich and inspire Iowans. We’re the folks who bring you those unforgettable local programs, broadcast services, and innovative educational initiatives that shape the future of our communities. If you’re interested in capturing and sharing stories or public media, spend the morning with us! During your visit, we’ll take you on a tour of the studios, you’ll sit in on the production of a weekly program and we’ll facilitate small group visits with staff based on your interests. Career interest areas include: Producer/Director/Writer; Videographer/Studio Designer; Motion Graphics Designer/Graphic Designer; On-Air Talent/Podcast Host; and Production Engineer/Editor.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Explore Broadcasting & Video Production Careers at Iowa PBS Registration

Event: Explore Auto/Diesel Day at DMACC

Date/Times: Friday, March 22, 2024 (8:30 AM – 1:30 PM)
Location: DMACC Ankeny Campus – Building 13

This event is for high school students interested in exploring future educational and career options in the following areas: Auto Collision Technology, Auto Mechanics Technology, Diesel Technology and our Manufacturer Based Internship Programs (GM ASEP, Ford ASSET, and MOPAR CAP), which allow students to have a paid work experience while earning their 2-year degree. Students will have the opportunity to attend 5 interactive sessions with faculty and employers. Lunch is provided.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Explore Auto/Diesel Day Registration
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Event: MidAmerican Energy Day – Females in the Energy Industry

Date/Times: Friday, April 5, 2024 (Time: TBD)
Location: MidAmerican Training Facility: 29817 R Ave., Adel, IA 50003

Female High School students will have a chance to interact with a variety of women leaders in the energy industry and participate in hands-on activities. The goal and purpose of this day is to build awareness of the wide range of career opportunities within the energy industry, while allowing students to network with some of our best and brightest at MidAmerican Energy.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: MidAmerican Energy Day – Females in the Energy Industry Registration

Event: Explore Creative Arts Careers at Mittera

Date/Times: Tuesday, April 9, 2024 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Location: Mittera, 5085 NE 17th Street, Des Moines, IA

The Creative Department at Mittera provides graphic design, photography, videography, and quality assurance and project management services for clients in all types of industries. If you are interested in working as a creative or with creatives, spend the day with us! We’ll begin with an overview of Mittera and our corporate division known as Mittera Creative + Tech before taking a tour and diving into hands-on exercises. Career interest areas include: Graphic Design, Photography, Videography, Quality Assurance, Project Management and Creative Operations. Lunch will be provided.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Explore Creative Arts Careers at Mittera Registration

Event: Build My Future: Hands-on Career Event

Date/Times: Wednesday, April 17, 2024 (Time: 9:00am – 1:00pm)
Location: Iowa State Fairgrounds – Varied Industries Building

A hands-on career event to meet employers and try job specific skills in careers like manufacturing, commercial and residential construction, restaurant, culinary & hospitality, automotive/mechanical, emergency services, military, trucking/logistics, energy.

Cost: Free
Transportation: Transportation to and from the event will be provided by Ankeny Schools.
Registration: Build My Future Sign Up

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: 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: 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.

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.