Businesses and organizations can provide learning experiences to help students discover their unique interests and talents. When exposed to a variety of quality work-based learning experiences, students are encouraged to think for themselves and apply their skills in real-world settings. They have the opportunity to problem-solve, work in team settings, and develop 21st century skills like critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.
By opening their doors to work-based learning, local employers are helping students explore career interests and develop the skills needed for success in the workplace. Through these experiences, students are able to see how academic achievement impacts their future and supports their career goals.
SCOE works to bring schools, businesses, and organizations together to create work-based educational opportunities for students. Working through CTE programs in district schools, SCOE has connected with over 200 businesses and organizations that provide work-based learning experiences for the students.
Examples of work-based learning experiences include:
- Guest Speakers: Speakers discuss careers related to student coursework
- Workplace Visits: Students see workplace dynamics, norms, and workflow
- Job Shadowing: Students engage with an industry and/or professional to learn about careers and the skills needed for entry into the field
- Work-Based Projects: Students synthesize industry experiences to create and complete a project that ties academic content and skills to industry problems and solutions
- Internships: Students and businesses/organizations commit to a collaboration that connects student skills and industry needs
To ensure students maximize their work-based learning experiences, they must be prepared to engage in real-world projects. For example, students might participate in a variety of career exploration activities prior to applying for and committing to a work-based learning experience. Through these preparatory activities, students build soft skills and increase confidence. They also gain understanding that hard work, respect, and perseverance are required in the workplace.
SCOE works in partnership with Social Advocates for Work to help schools provide work-based learning opportunities for students in career pathways. Through this partnership, SCOE can assist with industry contacts, coaching for integrating work-based learning in the curriculum, and establishing “college and career readiness hubs” on school sites. These services are available by contacting SCOE and working with CTE staff specialists to develop a plan for incorporating work-based learning into the school program.
SCOE can help establish opportunities for teachers to work for short periods of time during the summer at local businesses. The goals of these externships is for teachers to learn about the skills and knowledge necessary for career success in specific industries and to partner with industry professionals to develop relevant projects for CTE and integrated pathway courses.