Hartford Work-Based Learning Network Launches New Website!

Instructional Resources

WBL Working Definition

Consistent with research into WBL efforts nationally and their own practical experience, WBLN partners agreed on the following definition to frame our collective efforts. This definition informs the various WBL programs operating in Hartford with alignment to emerging statewide consensus definitions and elevated best practices.

Work-Based Learning is a multi-year sequenced continuum of integrated classroom instruction and workplace-based learning experiences resulting in participating (high school) students’ readiness for post-secondary career advancement (including higher education), featuring the following components:

  1. Curriculum with robust and integrated classroom instruction, enabling the transfer of knowledge and coordination of academic learning with the worksite experience.
  2. Multiple opportunities for employer engagement, mentorship, and feedback to both the student and classroom teachers.
  3. Creation of individualized career advancement plans recorded in student success plans. Including career awareness, exploration, and preparation.
  4. Formal work-based internship or culminating experience with employer-supervised hands-on learning work activity, multiple avenues for teacher input and observation.
  5. Support service plan, including transportation, tools, equipment, etc. to sustain student participation, including parent(s), school staff, mentor, and employer.
  6. Objective assessment, documenting student readiness and, if applicable, relevant industry validated credential(s).

WBLN Audiences

Effective WBL systems are mutually beneficial to students, industry partners, and educators, with a shared understanding that classroom instruction is aligned to workplace competencies. Other stakeholders, including community-based organizations and policymakers, support this collaborative ecosystem by clarifying and addressing gaps or mismatches as they arise.

Students: Work-Based Learning helps students gain exposure to the workplace while still in school, leading to many benefits. Through WBL activities, students build awareness of potential careers in a particular industry and can explore options and start preparing for their future. WBL provides opportunities for hands-on learning and development of relationships with professional adult role models. Participating students acquire experience and build core employability and occupational skills while learning about the training and education required to succeed in specific careers. They are better able to understand real-world applications of academics to help answer the question. “Why do I need to learn this?” By integrating a range of workplace exposures and experiences with school-based activities and guidance over time, students set their sights higher than an immediate job and are more likely to remain committed to their education through completion of their personal and career-related goals. Typically, WBL-participating students can:

  • Make connections between real work expectations and the classroom.
  • Begin to pursue education with a greater sense of purpose.
  • Interact with positive adult role models in a reduced student-adult ratio.
  • Experience enriched opportunities to learn, perform and be recognized.
  • Develop new skills and experiences.
  • Experience enhanced self-esteem.
  • Expand horizons and awareness of future work options.
  • Experience a range of opportunities not traditional for their gender, race, or ethnicity.

Employers / Industry Partners: Participating in WBL offers employers an effective vehicle to help build and retain their future workforce. Metro Hartford businesses/employers in multiple key sectors report a rapidly growing mismatch between the skills required for entry into their respective industries and those of the emerging local workforce. By opening their places of business to students and providing high-value WBL opportunities, employers can benefit from productive student work and gain a new perspective. Employers can observe potential future employees in a “long-term interview” context and participate in shaping their future workforce. Students also provide access to a key potential customer resource and informative point of view.

An employer’s existing incumbent workforce benefits from working with more productive and engaged employees and the opportunity to develop leadership and supervisory skills. WBL participation provides an opportunity for companies to support local schools, help develop a skilled and productive future workforce, build community awareness of the company’s role in the local economy, and enhance public image. Typically, WBL-participating employers can:

  • Build long-term relationships with local schools, helping to produce candidates qualified for entry-level employment upon high school graduation.
  • Obtain assistance with staffing and project needs.
  • Evaluate future hiring decisions on knowledge and observation of student work.
  • Gain organizational awareness for attracting additional qualified candidates.
  • Have the opportunity to mentor students in careers associated with business needs.

Schools, Educators, Training Providers: WBL extends the classroom to the workplace and brings employer volunteers into the school and classroom. It helps build educators’ awareness of industry-identified skills to incorporate in the classroom/academic curriculum and validates curriculum instructional models. It provides touchstones in authentic workplaces to help make classroom learning relevant and helps schools and programs build relationships with the community. WBL provides opportunities for networking and relationship-building to promote future collaboration with employer partners.

  • WBL assures students and parents that graduates will be well prepared for post-secondary education and promising career opportunities.
  • WBL builds ties with local employers, connecting youth with career opportunities in numerous fields and occupations.
  • WBL partners gain a better understanding of what business and industry expect.
  • WBL participating schools, teachers and providers can improve their ability to adjust curricula and instruction to the needs of the work site.
  • WBL participating schools, teachers and providers can improve collaboration with employers in preparing students for success in the workplace.

Community: WBL activities connect the local community to schools/education and local economic development efforts, promote civic engagement and help address community priorities and issues. Students complete community-focused projects to become more visible as productive and contributing community members of the larger society. WBL helps to grow a more productive and committed local workforce and demonstrates a commitment from schools/educators and businesses/employers to support expanded opportunities for local residents/citizens. Typically, WBL-participating communities:

  • Retain students, who intern with local companies as residents, stabilizing neighborhood populations.
  • Experience an increase in local commerce, and home purchasing.
  • Benefit from a decrease in unemployment.
  • Gain strength as student community engagement increases.
Translate »