What do you need to know?
Education does not only occur within the walls of the typical classroom or laboratory. A well-run school utilizes the extended campus of community including business and industry. Quality workplace experiences enable the school to effectively partner with the community to enhance the educational experiences of students. Workplace Experiences in authentic work settings are encouraged at all levels of education, Pre-K through 12 and beyond.
Work experience is widely recognized to promote improved employment outcomes for disadvantaged youth. Yet, youth with disabilities have disproportionately low access to work experience in comparison to youth without disabilities. This is particularly troublesome given that paid employment and work experience is only one of four evidence-based predictors of success in post-secondary education, employment, and independent living for youth with disabilities. Nebraska Career Education (NCE) and career development is inclusive of all students.
The Nebraska Workplace Experiences Continuum
The Nebraska Workplace Experiences Continuum illustrates how learning experiences become more focused as a student progresses through their education. The Nebraska Workplace Experiences Continuum is organized into three levels of strategies and can be found at www.nebraskaworkplaceexperiences.com:
Work Awareness Strategies acquaint students with the world of work and potential career options available. These are usually school-based instructional assignments but should also encourage the student to explore careers in their local and regional communities.
Work Exploration Strategies deepen a student’s experiences with workplaces through contextual settings. These strategies connect the student with workers and workplaces through carefully designed interactions.
Work-Based Learning Strategies provide actual supervised on-the-job experiences for students to continue to develop their academic, technical and career readiness skills.
Quality Workplace Experiences have:
- A focus on applied learning in preparation for postsecondary education and careers
- Learning outcomes as the driver for designing experiences and learning plans
- Relevance to student interests, their plan of study and learning goals
- Integration with curriculum or connection to related instruction
- Sufficient variety to provide exposure to multiple career options
- Sufficient depth to allow for employability skill development
- Ongoing interaction with professionals from industry and the community
- Close supervision from both teachers and employers
- Opportunities for reflection and analysis
- Assessment of student learning that is aligned with industry-specific expectations
- Alignment with postsecondary and career opportunities regionally
- Documentation of student learning through the development of artifacts and portfolios