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.