Delaware Pathways
Apr 1, 2022
There is no doubt that at some point in a student's life, they have asked themselves "Why am I studying this? Can I use this in real life?". Many students are eager to learn and practice skills that are relevant to their future career.
Most of the students who long for educational opportunities are those who have a strong desire to be ready for their ideal occupation. The curriculum students learn throughout their education is vital and important for their future as equity-centered leaders, employees and citizens of our society. 
However, it is important to acknowledge that  there are some concepts that are best learned outside the classroom setting. These concepts may be specific trade skills, but they also may be more nuanced abilities like how to behave and interact with others in a professional environment.
The question is, is there a way for students to link the knowledge gained in the classroom and practice applying those concepts and skills for in-demand, high quality jobs?

What is Work-Based Learning?

Work-based learning bridges the gap of classroom learning and real-life application of academic concepts. The combination of education and work experience is designed to push students to be credible and skill-ready for employment.

According to research and federal legislation, work-based learning should encompass:

  1. The alignment of classroom and workplace learning
  2. Application of academic, technical and employability skills in a work setting; and
  3. Support from the classroom or workplace mentors.

Delaware Pathways provides the opportunity for students to explore the world of work-based learning. Within that experience, students are able to make meaningful decisions about their career path based on real-life experience. Work-based learning opportunities can specifically help students find proficiency, mentorship, and placement in the workforce.


The Importance of Work-Based Learning

Traditional education often lacks a connection with the student’s future career path. By committing to a career pathway and incorporating related work-based learning opportunities into the education process, students feel a sense of belonging and can see the application of their skills in a real-world environment.
When students are exposed to the working conditions of employers, they harbor interest about different career paths. They learn how a specific job is performed and what makes it different from other careers out there. Once students have a feel of their chosen industry, they will have a variety of future career pathways to choose from and to be passionate about.
Students can also try out different roles within each industry before committing to their chosen field because work-based learning programs allow them to shadow job responsibilities. They will be able to develop proficiency in employability skills based on the employer’s expectation and work environment.
Apart from this, students who undergo work-based learning programs like Delaware Pathways are at an advantage for transitioning into becoming a permanent employee. Students with work-based learning experience generally have better access to mentorship and more advanced skills. Inexperienced new hires require extensive training and attention from employers. 
There is also more risk associated with those hires. Students who have work-based learning experience have already had an immersive experience; therefore, employers see them as competent and ready to hit the ground running.

How does Work-Based Learning work?

Work-based learning programs are comprehensive. Employers, schools, and training providers work together to provide students the essential practice of skills they need for better employability rate. Specifically:
Employers can:
  • Support new and diverse talent in the field
  • Build reputation as a great place to start a career
  • Develop a pipeline for best helping a student
Schools can:
  • Build ideal culturally-competent educational conditions for students
  • Provide equity-centered learning experience to students
  • Improve the overall educational system
Training providers can:
  • Provide and build student competency
  • Develop immersive student work experiences that are communal and asset-based
  • Build strong work-based learning programs

With the help of a hands-on academic and employability skill refinement, work-based learning opportunities help students to be more career aware, explorative, prepared, and ready for their future. There are a lot of communities that can help students achieve this goal, one of which is Delaware Pathways. 

Delaware Pathways is a vehicle that ensures each high school student has the opportunity to fulfill their educational goals and career aspirations. By working hand-in-hand with key government and business partners, they are able to support students with their employment skills prior to being hired.

More importantly, Delaware Pathways provides students opportunities to earn industry-recognized credentials, access to Delaware jobs, and a reputable platform that provides professionalism training for students.

If students are given the chance to start their career development, they can generate better learning outcomes through classroom and workplace learning. They will be able to acquire more credentials, find a suitable career, and guarantee employment.

After all, we all want equity-centered  learning conditions for students who are eager to learn, train, and professionally develop.


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