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 are;

  • Focused on career readiness skill development;
  • Introduced in early grades (awareness) and deepened over time through work exploration and work-based learning experiences;
  • Driven by standards-based student learning outcomes rather than just the completion of activities;
  • Accessible to all students and designed to meet diverse needs;
  • Focused on postsecondary education and career readiness;
  • Integrated within curriculum rather than as a stand-alone experience;
  • Tied to strong counseling resources (career assessments, personal counseling, etc.);
  • Supported by a school-based team that includes academic core teachers, career and technical education (CTE) teachers, and school counselors; and
  • Inclusive of school-based and technology-supported experiences.

Quality Workplace Experiences have:

  • 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, and
  • Documentation of student learning through the development of artifacts and portfolios.

Structures and Systems of Quality Workplace Experiences provide:

  • Sequenced experiences to ensure preparation and “next steps”;
  • Coordination of services among endorsed teachers, counselors, and the Workplace Experience Coordinator(s);
  • Partnerships with postsecondary institutions, apprenticeships, and job training programs to facilitate successful transitions beyond high school;
  • Adequate staffing of the workplace learning coordination function;
  • School schedule that enables quality work-based learning and supervision;
  • Communication materials to inform employers, students, and parents of opportunities;
  • Technology infrastructure to support placements, orientations, and actual workplace experiences;
  • Tools, processes and documentation for quality control and compliance with legal requirements;
  • Community-based advisors involved in program and experience planning and generating opportunities for students;
  • culture that values and supports workplace experiences across the curriculum for all students; and
  • Evaluative measures that facilitate continuous program improvement.