Types of Work-Based Learning Activities

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Types of Work-Based Learning Activities Work-based learning programs come in many forms and sizes. They may be designed exclusively for students at the secondary or postsecondary level or for students at both levels. Work-based learning programs may be schoolwide, districtwide, regional, or statewide, or they may be based on a combination of local and statewide implementation and oversight. Michigan's school-to-work system, for example, is designed and implemented by state and local personnel who work collaboratively to establish partnerships of employers, schools, labor organizations, parents, students, and community members to meet their local community needs by offering one or more occupational learning and career exposure activities (Ingham Intermediate School District [ISD] 1995a). The following forms of work-based learning are part of the occupational learning component of Michigan's work-based learning system (Ingham ISD 1995a, 1995b): - Contracted Instruction--career and technical education instruction and support services provided to students by a business, industry, or private educational agency through formal written agreements with public education agencies - Cooperative Education--programs combining classroom instruction with employment (part- time jobs during the school year or periods of study and employment alternating on a full-year, semester, or parallel basis) - School-to-Apprenticeship--work-based programs in which employers, employer associations, or employers and unions establish programs allowing high school students to participate in registered apprenticeships while completing their high school graduation requirements - Registered Apprenticeship--conventional apprenticeship programs registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training - Career Exploration--programs involving job shadowing and/or worksite mentors); - Service Learning--programs combining meaningful community service with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility - Career Internships--programs in which students spend time in a business, industry, or other organization to gain insight and direct experience - Career Academies--schools typically organized around a single employer or consortium of employers in an industry, and designed to increase awareness of career opportunities within particular occupational areas and teach the basic, life, and employment skills required for jobs or further training - School-Based Enterprises--programs in which groups of students produce goods or services for sale Another possible form of work-based education is work-based tech prep, which Bragg (1995) distinguishes from traditional tech prep programs on the basis of the higher visibility of employers. In work-based tech prep models, employers help develop formal plans linking students' school-based and work-based learning directly to their career goals, they provide formal work-based experiences, and they sponsor mentors and coaches.
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