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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.

All Aspects of an Industry

The All Aspects of an Industry framework integrates academic and career and technical education and emphasizes broad, transferable knowledge of the workplace rather than job- specific skills. Analyzing and solving the problems facing an industry and the enterprises within it draws upon the student’s basic and advanced skills and knowledge. A key component of quality career and technical education courses and programs of study is to incorporate all aspects of an industry into the curriculum and workplace experiences.

All Aspects of an Industry identifies nine aspects that are common to any enterprise. Students should gain experience and understanding of the following concepts:

  1. Planning: How an organization plans (include goals and objectives); type of ownership (public/private); relationship of the organization to economic, political, and social contexts; assessment of needs.
  2. Management: Structure and process for effectively accomplishing the goals and operations of the organization using facilities, staff, resources, equipment, and materials.
  3. Finance: Accounting and financial decision-making process, method of acquiring capital to operate, management of financial operations including payroll.
  4. Technical and Production Skills: Basic skills in math, communications, computer, time management, and thinking; specific skills for production; interpersonal skills within the organization.
  5. Principles of Technology: Technological systems being used in the workplace and their contributions to the product or service of the organization.
  6. Labor Issues: Rights of employees and related issues; wage, benefits, and working conditions.
  7. Community Issues: Impact of the company on the community, impact of the community on the organization.
  8. Health, Safety, and Environment: Practices and laws affecting the employee, the surrounding community, and the environment.
  9. 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.