The competitiveness and marketability of the U.S. workforce depends on the preparation of the labor force. In order to keep pace with the evolving economy, workforce demands, and impending retirements, schools in California have recognized the importance of equipping students for both college and careers. The responsibilities of schools have become far more complex and multidimensional in the 21st century. The Linked Learning reform effort is one prominent approach used by schools for college and career preparation, particularly utilizing work-based learning as a strategy to focus specifically on career preparation. One of the success ingredients necessary for implementing work-based learning is having strong partnerships among education and businesses. However, there are inherent challenges associated with this. Therefore, this study required investigating teacher perceptions and experiences in work-based learning implementation, as well as employer perception and engagement associated with work-based learning.
Utilizing mixed methods, this case study examined one school district’s work-based learning implementation. A combination of data collected from the Work-Based Learning Survey, teacher interviews and employer focus group discussion, the findings revealed two major themes: workforce preparation and integrated curriculum and instruction. Based on the themes, implications for policy, practice, and further research are included.
The overall findings indicated both teachers and employers believed Work-Based Learning (WBL) is essential to preparing students for college and careers, and especially associated its effectiveness in career preparation. Schools cannot implement WBL alone; having strong partnerships with employers is paramount and a key ingredient. Alignment of curriculum and workplace expectations is needed. Finally, employers need qualified staff equipped with appropriate essential skills. Therefore, utilizing WBL as a strategy to close the employability skills-gap would provide intrinsic value for the workforce.
|Commitee:||Biolchino, Erin, Gotto, Michael|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Secondary education, Vocational education, Teacher education, Educational administration, Education Policy, Labor relations|
|Keywords:||Career preparation, Employer engagement, Linked learning, Work-based learning, Teacher perception, Workforce demands, College preparaiton, School district, Workplace expectations, Employability skills-gap|
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