Are You Working on Work-Based Learning in Your State? Tune In to This Series

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    As policymakers who comb through news, you are likely to have seen news stories on work-based learning — often highlighting the benefits that flow to students and the whirlwind of work being done at the state and district levels to make such programs flourish.

    Part of this growing attention could be linked to an uptick in state and federal activity. In the past year, federal policymakers emphasized work-based learning in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (known as Perkins V), while states have enacted 39 pieces of high school CTE legislation — of which 13 focus on work-based learning.

    Despite news stories and growing policy interest, work-based learning opportunities for high school students are limited and often go to students with social connections. Less than half of states have adopted policies regarding work-based learning for secondary students. Those states with work-based learning policies in place can address gaps in access, finance and program quality and whether students earn credit for their experiences.

    To support you in building work-based learning policies in your state, we will examine research and current state examples in a series of blog posts this month on the following topics:

    • How States Define Work-Based Learning. This post explores current statewide definitions of work-based learning, as well as the range of components in those definitions. (June 10)
    • What Work-Based Learning Looks Like in Middle School. This post explores middle school career exploration as a work-based learning experience and opportunities for developing, expanding or scaling programs under Perkins V. (June 17)
    • Expanding Work-Based Learning Under ESSA and Perkins V. This post explores the opportunities in federal legislation for states to build and grow work-based learning programs. (June 24)

    You can also refer to these additional resources on work-based learning:

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    Policy Researcher at Education Commission of the States | tkeily@ecs.org

    As a policy researcher, Tom contributes to the work of the policy team on issues across the education spectrum. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, Tom taught middle school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tom is dedicated to providing state policymakers with quality research that supports them in making a positive impact on students' lives.

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