Ames High Business Engagement Collaborative (BEC)

Preparing students for success through partnerships and opportunities.

The Ames High Business Engagement Collaborative (AHSBEC) began its pilot year in the fall of 2016 as a collaboration between ISU Research Park and the Ames Community Schools. The program was inspired in part by APEX, a Waukee based experiential learning program where students are exposed to various vertical markets in specific career paths prior to college, in a professional, work based environment. In contrast to APEX, AHSBEC projects are interdisciplinary in nature, and students have the opportunity to request experience in different core areas and in different vertical markets.

The AHSBEC was designed to give high school students experiential learning opportunities by partnering with Ames area businesses and nonprofits. Students complete projects for these businesses, giving them the opportunity to learn about project management, communication, and entrepreneurship, while coming to work each day at the ISU Economic Development Core Facility. This strategic location allows students to work in a state-of-the-art facility surrounded by some of the greatest business opportunities in Iowa, while receiving mentorship from ISURP employees and Iowa State students. Students not only receive on the job training and experience, they also receive both Ames High and DMACC credit.

To date, the program has partnered with more than 50 area businesses and nonprofits. The program was so successful in its first year, it expanded to 25 students its second year and also expanded to locations at the Ames Chamber of Commerce and Iowa State Startup Factory.

If you or someone you know is interested in working with the Ames High Business Engagement Collaborative, contact Alison Doyle at or Niki Schieffer at

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