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Work Based Learning

WHAT IS WORK-BASED LEARNING?

Work-Based Learning (WBL) is a progressive instructional approach to strengthen college and career readiness for students, connecting schools, businesses and community partners within Delaware and the mid-Atlantic region. WBL experiences are structured K12 opportunities for students to learn about work (awareness), learn through work (exploration), and learn for work (immersion). As part of the Pathways to Prosperity initiative, WBL integrates classroom learning with interactions from local industry and business partners to help students make direct connections between their degree program studies and future careers. WBL activities develop and strengthen both technical skills and employability skills in preparation for post-secondary education and employment as a young adult.

WHAT IS WORKFORCE READINESS CURRICULUM?

WBL curriculum is a sequence of standards & activities that starts with career awareness and exploration activities, then progresses into a more in-depth immersion experience that includes hands-on learning in a work place environment. Activities begin in early elementary years, through middle school and progress through high school graduation. WBL curriculum provides students access to both specific technical skills and career employability skills. WBL standards are designed to prepare Colonial School District students for a WBL immersion experience during their Junior and/or Senior year of high school. Through a meaningful work experience aligned to the student’s degree program of study, students deepen interpersonal and professional skills necessary to successfully pursue postsecondary education, training, and career goals.

For More Information, contact

Anna Morgan
Jobs For Delaware Graduates
Work-Based Learning Coordinator
(302) 233-5644
anna.morgan@jdginc.org 

Resources (pdfs)

WBL AWARENESS

Learning ABOUT Work

Career awareness activities help students learn about the wide variety of jobs and careers, the education and training required for those careers, and typical pathways for employment and advancement. This is accomplished through online career exploration, guest speakers, career fairs and workplace tours.

WBL EXPLORATION

Learning THROUGH Work

Career exploration experiences help students learn about the specific skills needed for select careers by observing and interacting with employers in the workplace. As a next step after career awareness, students increase their focus on specific careers of interest and aptitude. Activities include informational interviews, job shadowing, mock interviews and industry projects.

WBL IMMERSION

Learning FOR Work

Career immersion experiences integrate career and academic skills acquired in the classroom with skills and knowledge acquired in the workplace. The emphasis is on building employability and work readiness skills to specific careers. These experiences connect our students to current industry and business leaders. It also helps students make improved decisions about their future education and training opportunities.

Work-Based Learning Practicum (WBLP)

Course Standards

Colonial’s Work-Based Learning Practicum (WBLP) course will be administered in a classroom setting, online, or a hybrid of both. The supporting work-based learning (WBL) standards are designed to prepare students for a WBL immersion experience during their Junior and/or Senior year. The WBL immersion experience allows students to apply academic, technical and employability skills to real-world work in partnership with employers. Through meaningful work experience aligned with a given career pathway, students deepen interpersonal and professional skills necessary to successfully pursue postsecondary education and career goals.

Students will document their abilities, achievements, and work experiences through a career readiness portfolio. The immersion experience will include a worksite journal (e.g., written, multimedia, etc.) and will be maintained as part of the portfolio to reflect and reinforce academic, technical, and employability skills. Completion of the WBLP course is designed to result in the attainment of early postsecondary credit.

PRIOR LEARNING SKILLS

Prior Learning Skills must be documented before participation in a WBL immersive experience. Demonstration of mastery may be documented through previous academic and degree program coursework or through WBLP coursework. Recommended portfolio artifacts are designated with a (P).

1. Document through the Student Post-Secondary Advisement Plan (PSAP) and other transition services: short- and long-term personal and career goals; action steps to attain goals; and the impact that postsecondary education and industry credentials have on career choice and advancement. (P)

2. Demonstrate professional behavior and proper etiquette in accordance with norms of the industry and workplace including: personal hygiene; dress; positive attitude; professional performance; and work attendance.

3. Exhibit appropriate workplace behavior through: interpersonal interactions (e.g., peer-to-peer, employee-to-supervisor, employee-to-customer); ethical workplace behavior (e.g., moral principles, honesty, integrity); and sound decision-making (e.g., task prioritization, team member collaboration, conflict resolution).

4. Present professional written and oral communication through: electronic communication (e.g., email, text, allowable social media); telephone etiquette (e.g., incoming and outgoing phone calls, voicemail messages); and other professional written communication (e.g., cover letter, resume, application, follow-up correspondence). (P)

5. Interact with mentors and conduct informational interviews with employers to inform, change, or reinforce short- and long-term career goals and action steps. (P)

6. Complete a mock job interview prior to a formal interview with a prospective employer.

7. Identify how math is applied in a business setting (e.g., financial calculations, physical forms of measurement, statistical analysis) and how economic principles impact global and local business operations.

8. Demonstrate financial literacy proficiency by: understanding how to open and manage a bank account; assessing personal expenses; creating a monthly budget; understanding compounded returns; understanding the primary sources of expenses and revenue; and accurately interpreting financial documents (e.g., balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement). (P)

9. Understand payroll policy and procedures including: onboarding documentation (e.g., W-4); direct deposit options; withholdings and deductions; hours worked and wages earned; retirement investment options (employer-based and individual) including: 401k, 403b, Roth IRA, pension, and social security; and gross and net earnings calculations. (P)

10. Evaluate professional workplace exit strategies including: appropriate advance written notice; return of worksite equipment; exit interview with supervisor; and follow-up correspondence.

CAREER READINESS SKILLS

Demonstration of career readiness skills may be documented through academic and degree program coursework, WBLP coursework, and WBL immersive experiences. Recommended portfolio artifacts are designated with a (P).

11. Provide evidence of WBL readiness including: CTE pathway curriculum; CTE pathway technical skills; employability skills; and a schedule of all personal and professional activities. (P)

12. Demonstrate proficiency in task management and career specific applications, resources, technology, and equipment as exhibited through assignments and work deliverables. (P)

13. Compile a log of policies and trainings relevant to the immersion experience which includes: workplace regulations; appropriate workplace non-discrimination laws and standards; health and safety policies (e.g., Occupational Safety and Health Administration); health training and certifications; relevant federal and state labor laws; and workplace and federal drug and alcohol policies during and beyond work hours. (P)

14. Conduct research to understand the values, history, and organizational structure of prospective employers. (P)

15. Submit targeted: cover letter, resume, application, and references to prospective employers. (P)

16. Prepare for and participate in a formal interview; ask questions that demonstrate an understanding of the employer’s mission, products, and priorities; and send appropriate post-interview communication. (P)

17. Document immersive experience expectations with an employer including: work hours; start and end dates; scheduled school breaks; preferred communication channels for contacting supervisor; worksite and in-class work requirements; and required portfolio artifacts. (P)

18. Develop a work-learning plan in partnership with employer, student, and school staff to address short-term career goals. The plan should allow for flexibility based upon changing circumstances, employer feedback, and unplanned assignments. (P)

19. Communicate with coworkers, supervisors and individuals of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and cultures by demonstrating effective listening, written, and verbal communication skills.

20. Complete a complex project related to the immersive experience requiring the following: incorporation of deadlines to allow for draft submissions and feedback prior to final product submission; demonstration of attention to detail, precision, and accuracy; and submission of finalized product. (P)

21. Evaluate the management style of a supervisor in a decision-making situation to consider how he or she communicates (e.g., verbal, non-verbal, written) and engages colleagues in a professional setting. Recognize how the management style effects employee productivity, morale, motivation, and job satisfaction.

22. Exhibit professional skills appropriate to the workplace setting including: problem-solving; conflict resolution; persistence and grit; and positive response to praise, setbacks, and constructive criticism.

Work-Based Learning Practicum (WBLP) Employability Skills Checklist

Employer partnerships exist to help students engage early and often in the world of work and to reinforce essential employability skills through intentional work-related experiences. At the highest level, employer-supported internships provide young adults with work experience, marketable skills, and the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to their company. The Work-Based Learning Practicum (WBLP) is a capstone course designed for high performing students to complete an immersion experience. The course and internship target several essential academic, technical, and employability skills that students must master by the conclusion of their course and employer placement. Local employers have stated that they require the following skills of their workers:

Applied math and literacy

  • applied math
  • written and verbal communications
  • financial literacy

Career literacy

  • goal setting
  • understanding career pathways
  • workplace structures and systems
  • industry, company, and position research
  • securing a job (e.g., interview, resume, cover letter)
  • health benefits, retirement, bank accounts
  • health and safety at work • workplace rights and regulations
  • professional norms and behaviors
  • exiting an internship/job

Professionalism

  • workplace etiquette and personal presentation
  • responsibility and self-discipline
  • perseverance and grit adaptability and flexibility
  • workplace ethics
  • positive attitude
  • use of personal device and social media
  • drug-free workplace

Critical thinking

  • analytical thinking
  • creative thinking
  • problem solving organizing

Interpersonal skills

  • teamwork
  • customer service
  • conflict resolution
  • feedback (receive/provide)
  • contributor
  • personal initiative
  • listening and notetaking
  • racial/ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity

Resource use and management

  • time
  • money
  • technology use (e.g., online calendar, email)
  • office-related software (e.g. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel; Google Docs)