Why Work-Based Learning Is A Win-Win-Win: The Educator Perspective

This three part blog series explores the key role that work-based learning plays in postsecondary success, and how it benefits students, educators, and employers alike.

In the United States right now, an estimated 6.5 million jobs are unfilled. This is in part because there aren’t enough qualified applicants to fill them. Many states have recognized that work-based learning experiences, like internships, job shadows, and career fairs, are key for preparing the next generation of the workforce and closing this gap.

What is work-based learning? According to Jobs for the Future, it is the completion of “meaningful job tasks in a workplace that develop readiness for work, knowledge, and skills that support entry or advancement in a particular career.” At Naviance we know that students are looking for these opportunities — in a recent poll, 81% of students surveyed stated that they want more access to internships, while 68% want more job shadows, and 66% want more field trips to companies.

When schools and local businesses partner to unlock these opportunities, it becomes a win-win-win for students, educators, and employers alike. Below, we’ll focus on the educator perspective.

Career readiness is a primary task for school counselors, but many schools and districts have a high student-to-counselor ratio, which can make it hard for counselors to provide individualized support. But by coordinating efforts and resources with local employers and postsecondary training providers, schools and districts can establish broader and more equitable access to work-based learning opportunities.

“Providing internships is one of the most important things you can do for students. There is no better motivator for high school students,” says Therese Tipton, Principal of Raisbeck Aviation High School in Washington state’s Highline Public Schools.

Jennifer Winters, an English language arts teacher at Carver Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore City Public Schools agrees. “Students who do internships not only get real world experience, they also see the real-world connections between their career education and the classroom work that may not be obviously related to their career choices.”

At Naviance, we believe strongly that all students should have access to opportunities that will help them achieve postsecondary success. This is why we’ve designed a toolkit that educators and communities can use as a blueprint for implementing work-based learning across schools and districts.

It’s also why our College, Career, and Life Readiness platform includes a work-based learning feature that allows schools to coordinate with local employers and then enter available work-based learning opportunities for students to participate in. This feature gives counselors and other school staff early visibility into the career paths their students are interested in, allowing them to provide the right activities and supports needed to achieve postsecondary goals.

“Naviance enables our district to put all college and career readiness activities into one spot. Students are not having to go to different platforms anymore,” says Erin Lippert, K12 Pathway Coordinator in California’s Covina-Valley Unified School District. “With the new Naviance Work-Based Learning, I believe there will be more collaborations across our CTE and counseling departments. There is also an opportunity to engage teachers to bring career readiness into the classrooms.”

When planned and implemented thoughtfully, work-based learning delivers compelling, integrated experiences for students to gain early exposure to career pathways to promote relevant skill development. When provided equitably in a community, work-based learning also provides a bridge to economic self-sufficiency by providing students with a head start on postsecondary programs, including opportunities to earn college credits and industry certifications before graduation.

At Naviance, we are committed to helping your school and district achieve your work-based learning goals — and better position all of your students for success.

Read part one in the three part series Why Work-Based Learning Is A Win-Win-Win: The Student Perspective

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Topics Work-Based Learning

College & Career Readiness

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