Career-Based Service Learning

Career-Based Service Learning combines traditional community service with a structured school- and work-based opportunity to explore a career field, emphasizing the connections between the service experiences, career readiness skill development and academic learning. Students benefit by acquiring career-related skills and knowledge while learning civic responsibility and gaining personal satisfaction. Service learning can be short-term projects and can be individual, team or classroom oriented.

Benefits

  • Students apply knowledge, critical thinking, and good judgment to address genuine community needs.
  • Engages students in experiential, hands-on projects in the community while deepening their understanding of an area of career interest.
  • Develops skills, habits, and attitudes vital to career success.
  • Helps students understand the needs of their local business and non-profit organizations and agencies.
  • Provides the context in which students can gain organizational, team, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, along with attitudes and capabilities necessary to succeed in work and life.

Success Factors

  • Allow students to design and select the career-based service learning activity.
  • Provide classroom preparation for the career-based service learning.
  • Have students conduct preparatory research and report on the community/business/non-profit organization need.
  • Coordinate a planned series of activities with students to allow them to apply their skills and knowledge to help meet a need in the school or greater community.
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and contribution to the business, non-profit organization or agency.

Awareness Strategies Overview

Awareness Strategies are the first and most basic level of Workplace Experiences within the Nebraska Workplace Experiences Continuum. These strategies:

  • Focus on identifying career readiness skills
  • Build basic awareness of career options
  • Provide a means to explore careers
  • Take place within the traditional classroom setting

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Creating Quality Workplace Experiences

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.

Common Aspects of Quality Workplace Experiences:

  • Introduced in early grades with awareness strategies and deepened over time through exploration strategies and work-based learning strategies;
  • Focused on career readiness skill development;
  • Driven by standards-based student learning outcomes rather than just the completion of activities;
  • Accessible to all students and designed to meet diverse needs;
  • Relevant to student interests, personal learning plans, and career goals;
  • Integrated within curriculum rather than as a stand-alone experience;
  • Diverse enough to provide exposure to multiple career options, including entrepreneurship;
  • Designed to provide for assessment, reflection, and analysis;
  • Tied to strong counseling resources (career assessments, personal counseling, etc.);
  • Supported by a team that includes academic core teachers, CTE teachers, and school counselors; and
  • Inclusive of school-based and technology-supported experiences

Assessing the Quality of Workplace Experiences

Quality Workplace Experiences are defined by incorporating student learning outcomes into CTE courses or in stand-alone work-based learning courses. The following factors must be assessed to ensure the quality of the workplace experience.

The Workplace Experiences must be:

  • A part of a sequential program that progresses and builds through the Nebraska’s Workplace Experiences Continuum to provide students with meaningful career development opportunities.
  • Based on student learning outcomes leading to career preparation.
  • Fully integrated into the instructional program, not an add-on or extra credit activity.
  • A broad range of experiences, not limited to a job or a specific set of skills so that students develop an understanding of all aspects of an industry.
  • Driven by quality criteria designed to meet the needs of the individual student rather than focused on schedules, class projects or number of students participating.
  • Documented using a student portfolio or other approach to identify and document student growth and achievement.

Maximizing Learning through Workplace Experiences

Helping students develop a context for the workplace maximizes their learning once they engage in a workplace experience. There are several ways to do this:

  • Discuss expectations for the experience and what the students may learn.
  • Discuss behavioral expectations that will allow students to make the most out of the experience.
  • Discuss what students know about the company and how the industry impacts them.
  • Support students in research of the company and the industry so that they can ask meaningful questions during the workplace experience.
  • Have students prepare questions and individual learning objectives that they would like to accomplish during the workplace experience.
  • Introduce frameworks and materials that will help organize what they learn at the workplace. These frameworks include the Nebraska Standards for Career Readiness and All Aspects of an Industry.

Nebraska VR & Project SEARCH

Nebraska VR

Nebraska VR works with schools and other organizations across the state to help students plan for the future and prepare for careers that match their skills, abilities, and interests.
To meet the employment needs of students with disabilities, Nebraska VR provides pre-employment transition services which include:

  • Job Exploration Counseling
  • Workplace Readiness Training
  • Work-Based Learning Experiences
  • Counseling on Comprehensive Transition or Post-Secondary Educational Programs
  • Instruction in Self-Advocacy

In Nebraska every high school has an assigned Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor who can help students who have an identified disability to gain skills, find a job and start a career. They work with school staff to assess interests and strengths, explore careers and post-secondary training options, among many other individualized services.

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a partnership between Nebraska VR, a business, area school systems, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Assistive Technology Partnership, and Division of Developmental Disabilities. This one-year school-to-work program is business-led and takes place entirely in the workplace. The experience includes a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations.

Helping Students Develop Competitive Employment Skills
Project SEARCH is a high school transition program that provides training and education intended to lead to employment for individuals with disabilities. Students who have completed their academic requirements may apply if they are in their last year of high school. Each interested student is required to make a formal application to the program and to interview with a selection committee. Students are selected through a rating process by a committee consisting of representatives of a school, Nebraska VR, and the Project SEARCH host business. All students must be eligible for services with Nebraska VR.

Seriously Unique High School Transition Program
The program provides real-life work experience to help youth with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life. Each student participates in three 10-week internships during the school year. In each rotation the student learns job-specific skills while having the opportunity to put career readiness skills into practice. Monthly progress meetings are held to help students define their career goal and to plan necessary steps to achieve that goal.

Program Model
Project SEARCH is an international trademarked and copyrighted program model, which focuses solely on employment for Project SEARCH interns.
The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total workplace immersion in a large business. For five days a week students report to the host business, learn career readiness skills in the classroom, and job skills while participating in a variety of work experiences. Managers at the internship sites work with the Project SEARCH staff to support the students during the day. Students get continuous feedback from the internship manager, co-workers, and Project SEARCH staff. A certified special education teacher and job coaches work with both the students and the business staff. Students end their day by reflecting, problem solving, planning, and journaling key learning points. The goal upon program completion and graduation is to utilize skills acquired during the internship for gainful employment.

Working with Youth with Disabilities or Who Receive Special Education Services

The successful transition of youth with disabilities from school to employment, education/training and independent living is a focal point of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and a policy incentive within the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
www.ideapolicy.org

Often youth with disabilities face unique challenges that must be addressed to reach their post-school goals of postsecondary education, employment and independent living. By age 16, a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) must include transition services which will assist the student in reaching his/her postsecondary goals.

Transition services are a coordinated set of activities whose outcome is to design a process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities. Some students remain in high school until they are 21 years old. Since most high school students typically graduate at 17 or 18 years of age and progress to postsecondary education or employment, students with disabilities who remain in high school until the age of 21 have fewer opportunities to interact with same-age peers without disabilities. The transition services should be developed to increase the opportunity to interact with same-age peers in age–appropriate settings and provide opportunities for students to gain independent living skills, social skills, employment, and self-advocacy in real-life settings and to participate in age-appropriate activities in their communities.

These services ideally are located outside of the high school in community settings which may include the development of integrated and supported employment. A student’s specific needs, based on preferences and interests, define the services that can be included in the transition plan.

Youth with disabilities must be able to access work experience activities. These experiences focus on assisting the student to develop broad, transferable skills for postsecondary education and the workplace. A quality Workplace Experiences program can make school-based learning more relevant by providing students with the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real world situations.

The IEP team evaluates the employment needs of a student and then documents the activities and/or goals for the student in the Individualized Education Program. The IEP team may also identify supports available from non-educational agencies to assist the student in meeting the IEP goal of employment.

The WBL Coordinator may be involved in the transition planning of youth with disabilities. This occurs through attending meetings and working with the IEP team. Once the needs, activities, and goals of the student have been identified, the role of the WBL coordinator is to develop a work-based learning skills plan, identify possible worksites, and develop and coordinate the placement and worksite activities of the student. Collaboration is the key to providing youth with disabilities the best and most appropriate WBL experiences. Through the collaborative efforts of several agencies throughout Nebraska, youth with disabilities have opportunities to become employed adults within the communities in which they live.

Often youth with disabilities face unique challenges that must be addressed to reach their post-school goals of postsecondary education, employment and independent living. By age 16, a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) must include transition services which will assist the student in reaching his/her postsecondary goals.

Transition services are a coordinated set of activities whose outcome is to design a process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities. Some students remain in high school until they are 21 years old. Since most high school students typically graduate at 17 or 18 years of age and progress to postsecondary education or employment, students with disabilities who remain in high school until the age of 21 have fewer opportunities to interact with same-age peers without disabilities. The transition services should be developed to increase the opportunity to interact with same-age peers in age–appropriate settings and provide opportunities for students to gain independent living skills, social skills, employment, and self-advocacy in real-life settings and to participate in age-appropriate activities in their communities.

These services ideally are located outside of the high school in community settings which may include the development of integrated and supported employment. A student’s specific needs, based on preferences and interests, define the services that can be included in the transition plan.

Youth with disabilities must be able to access work experience activities. These experiences focus on assisting the student to develop broad, transferable skills for postsecondary education and the workplace. A quality Workplace Experiences program can make school-based learning more relevant by providing students with the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real world situations.

The IEP team evaluates the employment needs of a student and then documents the activities and/or goals for the student in the Individualized Education Program. The IEP team may also identify supports available from non-educational agencies to assist the student in meeting the IEP goal of employment.

The WBL Coordinator may be involved in the transition planning of youth with disabilities. This occurs through attending meetings and working with the IEP team. Once the needs, activities, and goals of the student have been identified, the role of the WBL coordinator is to develop a work-based learning skills plan, identify possible worksites, and develop and coordinate the placement and worksite activities of the student. Collaboration is the key to providing youth with disabilities the best and most appropriate WBL experiences. Through the collaborative efforts of several agencies throughout Nebraska, youth with disabilities have opportunities to become employed adults within the communities in which they live.

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

Click2ScienceAugust 15, 2018
1:00 PM Central Time
Click2SciencePD

Webinar: Helping Youth Build Connections from Summer to the School Year
This webinar will include tips you can share with families to help them prepare for a great new school year and strategies to help young people build connections between summer and their new school year.

Register now!
http://www.click2sciencepd.org/webinars


You for Youth offers six live webinars during the month of August.
Topics include:
Webinar 1: An Introduction to 21st CCLC
Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 12:00 PM Central Time
Webinar 2: Managing Your 21st CCLC Program
Wednesday, August 22, 2018, 12:00 PM Central Time
Webinar 3: Continuous Education: From Building Your Team to Identifying Needs
Thursday, August 23, 2018, 12:00 PM Central Time
Webinar 4: Continuous Education: From Intentionally Designing Activities to Ensuring Fidelity
Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 12:00 PM Central Time
Webinar 5: Investing in Family Engagement
Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 12:00 PM Central Time
Webinar 6: Engaging Partners for Sustainability
Thursday, August 30, 2018, 12:00 PM Central Time

To join one or all of these live learning events, register here!


September 6, 13, and 20, 2018
4:30 to 5:30 PM Central Time
NE Forest Service

NEW FREE WORKSHOP for middle/high school formal and non-formal educators:

“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” – Wendell Berry.
PLT’s Places We Live curriculum helps students understand the ecological, social, cultural, and historical identity of their communities, developing a sense of place within the students. Through these lessons, the students will explore their communities to learn what makes them unique, about the people who live there, and how they can support the legacy of their town.

This is a free webinar series and each participant will receive the curriculum. The webinars will be September 6, 13, and 20; 4:30-5:30 (central) with one hour of homework between each meeting.

Contact Hanna Pinneo (NE Forest Service) at hpinneo2@unl.edu or 402-624-0066 with questions or to register.

Youth WBL Roadmap & Programs

Youth Work-Based Learning Roadmap

Roles of Workforce Programs and Education Programs

Primary Contact Roles and Responsibilities

 

Benefits of Workplace Experiences

Students Benefit!

Students who participate in quality Workplace Experiences:

  • Set and pursue career, educational, and personal goals;
  • Understand the connection between school and their postsecondary and career goals;
  • Model mature professional behaviors and rise to the expectations of employers while demonstrating good work habits;
  • Develop leadership skills and a sense of responsibility;
  • Solve problems cooperatively and creatively; and
  • Build networks that will support learning and expand future opportunities.

Schools Benefit!

Schools that effectively integrate Workplace Experiences into students’ programs of study:

  • Incorporate career training techniques used in businesses;
  • Develop ongoing relationships with the business community;
  • Adapt rapidly to industry trends and workplace expectations;
  • Increase the number of workplace opportunities available to all students;
  • Create a sequenced plan of Workplace Experiences that build upon each other to foster career awareness, exploration, and preparation; and
  • Promote skills that support students’ attainment of the Nebraska Career Readiness Standards and CTE program of study/course standards.

Employers and Community Organizations Benefit!

Employers and Community Organizations that assist with students’ Workplace Experiences:

  • Build a pipeline of knowledgeable, motivated talent;
  • Increase company brand awareness and loyalty;
  • Prescreen potential employees;
  • Give back to the community and support strong learning experiences for students; and
  • Provide students with exposure to opportunities outside their immediate environments.

Experiencing All Aspects of an Industry

Building the Classroom Connection

A well-structured classroom orientation lays the groundwork for a successful workplace learning experience. Students are prepared for learning in the workplace by helping them assess their own interests and skills, learn about what to expect at the workplace and build an understanding of the various aspects of the industry they’ll be visiting or in which they will be employed.  Activities outlined in this guide support specific types of workplace experiences. They may be adaptable for a variety of workplace learning experiences.

Experiencing All Aspects of an Industry

Nebraska’s Workplace Experiences Continuum is designed to give students experiences that help them understand all aspects of an industry. This concept stems from the idea that students should not narrow their career search too early and should understand all the aspects of how a business or industry operates successfully. The All Aspects of an Industry framework emphasizes broad, transferable knowledge of the workplace rather than job- specific skills. This framework identifies nine aspects that are common to any industry.

Students should gain experience and understanding of the following concepts:

Planning: How an organization plans the type of ownership; relationship of the organization to economic, political, and social contexts; goals and objectives; and assessment of needs.

Management: Structure and process for effectively accomplishing the goals and operations of the organization using facilities, staff, resources, equipment, and materials.

Finance: Accounting and financial decision-making process, method of acquiring capital to operate, management of financial operations including payroll.

Technical and Production Skills: Basic skills in math, communications, computer, time management, and critical thinking; specific skills and techniques; ways of organizing production work; interpersonal skills within the organization. The mathematic, scientific, social and economic principles that underlie the technology.

Principles of Technology: Technological systems being used in the workplace and their contributions to the product or service of the organization.

Labor Issues: Rights of employees and related issues; wage, benefits, and working conditions.

Community Issues: Impact of the company on the community, impact of the community on the organization.

Health, Safety, and Environment: Practices and laws affecting the employee, the surrounding community, and the environment.

Personal Work Habits: Non-technical skills and characteristics expected in the workplace.

Prepare Students to Maximize Learning

Helping students develop a context for the workplace maximizes their learning once they engaged in a workplace experience.  There are several ways to do this.

  • Discuss expectations for the experience and what the students may learn beforehand.
  • Discuss behavioral expectations that will allow students to make the most out of the activity.
  • Discuss what students know about the company and how the industry impacts them.
  • Support students in research of the company and the industry so that they can ask meaningful questions during the workplace experience.
  • Have students prepare questions and individual learning objectives that they would like to accomplish during the workplace experience.
  • Also, introduce frameworks and materials that will help organize what they learn at the workplace. These frameworks include the Nebraska Standards for Career Readiness and All Aspects of an Industry.