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.