Work Based Learning Program
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A work-based learning program is essential for preparing students to join the workforce. Start a work-based learning program with careful consideration. As a leader, you must give careful consideration and time before developing a course that will provide students with opportunities to discover potential career paths. The following are some articles I have read followed by my own reflection on things that can be implemented in a work-based learning program.

Promising Trends and Challenges in Work-Based Learning: A Market Scan of Organizations and Tools

The work-based learning program pair work experience with academic instruction. Instruction can come in the form of education while at a job site or before leaving school. The role of this instructional offering is to prepare students to complete the job successfully.

It will be essential that I help students to become comfortable operating technology due to changes in the workforce. Technology can support students in acquiring knowledge about careers, in addition to the discovery of new career opportunities based on their interests.

With the aid of technology, I can also help students to gain new experiences through virtual field trips and extend real experiences. As students progress through the learning pathways, they can gain badges that help to highlight the skills they possess.

I will need to be on the lookout for these opportunities. While leveraging technology appears to be a promising trend, our school has limited resources. Be aware of low cost and free tools to support the learning of students. Equip them with skills that are essential to employers.

Students can complete reflection papers about their experiences. Think about how to incorporate technology to enhance opportunities.

Have students compile information in the form of a presentation and share it with other students. Listening to these presentations would help the original student to gain experience based on their interests while being informative for their peers.

Complete Guide: Job Shadowing for High School Students

Job shadows are opportunities for students to understand different careers and the work that occurs. These experiences can be decisive in the form of supporting and encouraging students to follow along this career path. The experience can also be beneficial in the sense that students discover this is not a career option that matches their interests.

In both cases, this is a win for the student.

To prepare students for this experience, I can have them do an assignment where they learn about the company for the job shadow will take place. I can also have them learn about the career.

Both of these assignments are beneficial since many businesses have individuals who are performing various sets of work but are still employed by the same company.

Likewise, learning about the career may prove to be fruitful. Multiple companies may employ an individual with the same skills, or they may locate jobs in different geographic regions. Utilizing information gleaned from these assignments, students can develop a set of questions to ask the person they are job shadowing.

There should also be an element of the student recording their work experience while doing the job. With this said, students should be cognizant of employment practices and safety measures. Using the notes or videos taken while working will allow students a chance to record their experience as a reflection upon the completion of the job shadow.

Career-focused Mentoring for Youth: The What, Why, and How

in today’s COVID world, communication is an essential skill. Students need to be able to communicate in written form as well as verbally.

An opportunity to enhance this required skill would be setting students up with mentors. Students communicate with an industry professional that matches their career aspirations. By establishing these relationships, students can feel supported while gaining knowledge about the industry.

I believe this to be an excellent opportunity for youth. However, challenges can be found in finding industry professionals willing and capable of assisting students at this level. I have attempted to do a mentorship for the entrepreneurship students I teach.

I learned that many lacked the follow-through in communicating with these people or the willingness to start the relationship. For this to be successful, both sides student and professional must have a desire.

So while I believe this to be a valuable exercise, there are limitations in terms of implementing a mentorship.

I will continue to extend these opportunities to students and encourage them to start and follow through with this opportunity.

Due to the time required by the professional, I do not feel that this can be a mandatory assignment for work-based learning.

What I could do for an assignment is to have students create a poster that describes mentorship and the benefits of having a mentor. The goal would be that students become excited about the potential in performing these relationships.

How States and Schools Can Engage Employers to Invest in Workplace Learning

One of the essential charges of the work-based learning supervisor is to listen to the needs of business leaders.

The goal is to help bridge the gap between the skills students currently possess the skills needed by employers.

For this reason, it will be essential to work closely with business leaders, and I need to develop those relationships. It is also essential that business leaders sit on an advisement committee for the school.

The nonprofit Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, which works closely with the workforce system, will help in student placement for these work-based learning opportunities.

Participation in the Economic Development Association can help foster relationships.

The local Rotary international can also be a rich source for networking. Additionally, This will be an excellent organization to get involved with to create opportunities for my other business classes for project-based learning.

I can also get involved with the young professionals group.

Being involved in these groups could be helpful to help form connections.

Importance of Internships for High School Students: In a Work Based Learning Program

80% of employers state recruitment occurs through internships.

In Southwest Minnesota, the majority of employment opportunities only demand a high school education.

Providing students with internship opportunities will lead to quicker employment upon graduation. Moreover, internships allow students experience to include on their resume.

Placement in an internship will allow students the opportunity to be knowledgeable about their career choice.

As I helped to place students in an internship, I am helping students to recognize potential opportunities. As students gain experience, they will hopefully recognize what education is necessary beyond high school.

To me, internships in high school are the gold standard for work-based learning. I will be responsible for ensuring that students have meaningful opportunities in which to explore career pathways.

Students will be responsible for documenting their work experience as an assignment. Data collection at these internships will allow them to demonstrate newly acquired skills. Documentation will be helpful when they apply for employment.

Towards the end of these internships, I think it is essential for those taking the course to reconvene and present materials as to what they learned through these experiences.

A work based learning program should allow students to share knowledge so others also benefit from this experience. It will hopefully foster conversations around careers so that they become more confident in the direction in which they are headed.