School To Work Initiatives
This article by the World Bank asks how can we best help children and youth succeed in life? This question is a top concern among parents, educators and policymakers all over the world. Growing attention has focused on the key role of socio-emotional skills, such as grit (perseverance) and motivation to overcome obstacles and failures, in the path to success.
The Manufacturing Institute is tracking a number of state initiatives in this area. What opportunities are available in your state?
Looking for ideas? Arizona State University's Gammage theater puts on an an interactive workshop that provides students a chance to learn from Gammage employees about potential career choices – learning by doing.
Seek out companies in your community that might want to partner in a similar introduction to career options event.
The Department of Education published the results of an evaluation of their funded School To Work initiatives, one component of its school reform program. It includes case studies and identification of key elements of effective programs.
Briefly, the key findings of the DOE's School To Work initiative were...
- support at the top level of school structures,
- capable leadership from the program director,
- professional development,
- partnerships with relevant community groups,
- student self-determination,
- real-life context built into the curriculum,
- work-based learning strategies,
- integrated school guidance and career planning,
- beginning school-to-work programs prior to middle and high school with post-secondary followup,
- creative financing, and
- use of appropriate research to guide program development.
While the information is specific to Oregon employers, this resource will give you an idea of the issues your students and potential community partners may face when implementing a School-to-Work program.
These findings resemble others in this collection in that effective programs for school reform are based on appropriately authentic curriculum, integrated fully into a school program and articulated across grade levels, dependent upon adequate supports to accomplish program goals and inclusive of all appropriate constituents. Such conclusions would seem obvious except that they do not characterize most similar efforts.