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​Career Readiness Resources

​Title:  Work-Based Learning

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Making Work-Based Learning Work
Cahill, Charlotte
Jobs For the Future

Americans seeking employment often face a conundrum: relevant work experience is a prerequisite for many jobs, but it is difficult to gain the required experience without being in the workplace. Work-based learning--activities that occur in workplaces through which youth and adults gain the knowledge, skills, and experience needed for entry or advancement in a particular career field--offers a solution to this problem. But although the benefits of work-based learning are clear, they have accrued primarily to the most highly educated and socially connected segments of the U.S. population. In recent years, educators and leaders in the workforce development field have returned again and again to the problem of providing work-based learning opportunities to the marginalized populations for whom this experience can mean the most. This paper guides the design and implementation of effective models of work-based learning that expand access for the many people who don't currently benefit from these opportunities, including the introduction of seven principles for effective work-based learning that Jobs For the Future (JFF) has identified based on more than three decades of experience in promoting and implementing education and workforce strategies that support youth and adults seeking to launch and advance in careers. [For the related document: "7 Principles for Effective Work-Based Learning," see ED567847.]

Not as Hard as You Think: Engaging High School Students in Work-Based Learning
Cahill, Charlotte; Jackson, Sheila
Jobs For the Future

Employers interested in working with young people are often concerned about possible barriers that may limit youth's access to workplaces, such as labor laws and liability issues. Employers who eagerly partner with educators to provide guest speakers and company tours might nonetheless be hesitant to invite students into workplaces for experiences such as job shadows and especially internships. Addressing employers' concerns head-on is therefore critical to scaling up work-based learning opportunities in states and regions. In reality, federal and state laws and policies do not prevent high school students from participating in meaningful work experiences in professional environments. Employers who familiarize themselves with a few main policies relevant to their sectors can easily remain in compliance while providing enriching and important career and skill development opportunities for youth that have lasting impacts on students, families, and entire communities--not to mention the employer's work and workforce. This brief is intended to allay concerns about perceived barriers to young people's access to workplaces and to highlight the successes of employers who have opened their doors to high school students. The brief profiles employers within the Pathways to Prosperity Network who have found ways to provide young people with meaningful work experiences. These case studies highlight the ways that these employers have managed the logistics of work-based learning and explain the benefits of doing so for employers. [This brief was produced as part of Jobs for the Future's Pathways to Prosperity Network.]

Improving the Connection between Healthcare Employers and Schools to Increase Work-Based Learning Opportunities for Urban High School Students
Loera, Gustavo
Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, v12 p15-23 2016

This study advances an experiential learning framework for educators to: (1) identify workforce-building strategies from key healthcare industry informants, (2) strengthen school-industry partnerships, and (3) shape urban high school students' career readiness experiences through curriculum and real life on-the-job training opportunities. Data was gathered from structured phone interviews with 21 healthcare industry leadership and management informants. Three key findings emerged. First, a financial burden and disengagement of leadership from the healthcare industry is a barrier. Second, creating effective partnerships as long-term investments is a challenge. Third, more needs to be done on aligning education and training with the healthcare industry.

​Title:  Career Readiness:   Elementary Learner

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College and Career Readiness in Elementary Schools
Pulliam, Nicole; Bartek, Samantha
International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, v10 n3 p355-360 Jan 2018

This conceptual article will provide an in-depth exploration of the relevant literature focused on college and career readiness interventions in elementary schools. Beginning with a theoretical framework, a rationale is provided for early intervention by elementary school counselors. While professional guidelines and standards exist supporting early college and career readiness interventions, research outlining evidence-based practices at the elementary level is scarce. Existing practices used by school counselors are outlined.

Operation Occupation: A College and Career Readiness Intervention for Elementary Students
Mariani, Melissa; Berger, Carolyn; Koerner, Kathleen; Sandlin, Cassie
Professional School Counseling, v20 n1 p65-76 2016-2017

This article describes efforts undertaken to design, deliver, and evaluate a college and career readiness (CCR) unit for fifth-grade students. Preliminary findings from the school counselor-developed and -delivered intervention, Operation Occupation, supported interdisciplinary efforts between counselors and classroom teachers. Pre- and post-intervention perception data revealed that students increased their knowledge and skills related to CCR. Teachers also reported positive perceptions about the experience. The article shares implications for school counselors.

​Title:  Career Readiness:  Transition/Special Education

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A College and Career Readiness Framework for Secondary Students with Disabilities
Morningstar, Mary E.; Lombardi, Allison; Fowler, Catherine H.; Test, David W.
Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, v40 n2 p79-91 May 2017

In this qualitative study, a proposed organizing framework of college and career readiness for secondary students with disabilities was developed based on a synthesis of extant research articulating student success. The original proposed framework included six domains representing academic and nonacademic skills associated with college and career readiness: academic engagement, academic mind-sets, learning processes, critical thinking, social skills, and transition knowledge. Focus groups were conducted to examine perspectives among state-level stakeholders with knowledge and expertise regarding college and career readiness, drop-out prevention, and secondary transition. Through an iterative process, the focus group data were analyzed and the framework was refined based on findings. Implications for practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.

​Title:  Career Readiness:  Entrepreneurship

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A Statewide Train-the-Trainer Model for Effective Entrepreneurship and Workforce Readiness Programming
Fields, Nia Imani; Brown, Mananmi; Piechocinski, Alganesh; Wells, Kendra
Journal of Extension, v50 n5 Article 5TOT9 Oct 2012

A statewide youth and adult train-the-trainer model that integrates workforce readiness and entrepreneurship can have a profound effect on young people's academic performance, interest in college, and overall youth development. Participants in workforce and entrepreneurship programs develop personal resources that have value in school, in the workplace, and in the local community (Entwisle, Alexander, & Olson, 2000). To increase the collaborative entrepreneurship and workforce readiness efforts in Maryland, 4-H Youth Development Educators created an interactive youth and adult train-the-trainer model to implement workforce readiness and entrepreneurship educational programs in local communities.

A Profile of Agricultural Education Teachers with Exemplary Rural Agricultural Entrepreneurship Education Programs
Heinert, Seth B.; Roberts, T. Grady
Journal of Agricultural Education, v58 n4 p192-209 2017

Rural entrepreneurship education programs may be a great tool for enhancing rural livelihoods and reducing rural outmigration. Entrepreneurship has received attention in school based agricultural education, primarily through implementation of Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs. Very little research has looked at the teaching of entrepreneurship. As a part of a larger research project, this study looked at characteristics of teachers who implement exemplary rural agricultural entrepreneurship education programs. Results revealed that teachers: (a) were experienced, (b) held advanced degrees, (c) had prior experience with entrepreneurship, (d) generally were considered outstanding teachers, and (e) were described as being open minded and enthusiastic. Recommendations are made based on these conclusions.

Assessing Curiosity in the Engineering Entrepreneurship Context: Challenges and Future Research Areas
Zappe, Sarah E.; Yoder, John-David; Hylton, J. Blake
Advances in Engineering Education, v7 n1 Fall 2018

Curiosity is often included as one of several attributes comprising the entrepreneurial mindset. While research on curiosity has been conducted in the field of psychology for many decades, applied research on the construct in the entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education settings has been lacking. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance for assessing curiosity in the engineering entrepreneurship education context, focusing on two steps of the assessment process: defining curiosity, a step critical for developing program objectives, and identifying possible sources of evidence. Many unanswered questions remain about how the various dimensions of curiosity apply to the entrepreneurship education context.

​Title:  Career Readiness:  Equity

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College and Career Readiness for Gifted African American Girls: A Call to School Counselors
Mayes, Renae D.; Hines, Erik M.
Interdisciplinary Journal of Teaching and Learning, v4 n1 p31-42 Spr 2014

Current literature on college and career readiness highlights the role of educators in promoting the success of all students. However, few studies have focused on the specific needs of gifted African American girls. This article discusses the school experiences and career development of gifted African American girls and it provides a culturally responsive and gendered framework for school counselors to promote college and career readiness of gifted African American girls using the components of college and career readiness counseling endorsed by the College Board National Office of School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA, 2010). Implications for future research, school counseling training, and professional development are discussed.

Urban High School Principals' Promotion of College-and-Career Readiness
Malin, Joel R.; Hackmann, Donald
Journal of Educational Administration, v55 n6 p606-623 2017

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to ascertain how two urban principals, in high schools that feature comprehensive college-and-career readiness practices, utilize distributed leadership to facilitate their implementation. Design/methodology/approach: This study employed qualitative methods. Drawing upon semi-structured interview data, observational data gathered as part of site visits, and internal and electronic documents, case descriptions were developed of each school, focusing on principals' activities in support of career pathways. Findings: The principals contributed significantly to their schools' college-and-career readiness reforms and programming. Although their approaches were distinct, six common themes were identified: facilitating processes to form a shared vision, developing relational trust, a focus on learning, successful partnerships, conducive structures, and developing leadership skills and capacity. The principals described utilizing distributed leadership approaches--including practices, structures, and tools--to support these reforms. Originality/value: This study represents the initial phase of a multi-year research project investigating the implementation of college-and-career pathways in urban communities. Prior research has overlooked the important role of principals in leading and facilitating these reforms, and this study contributes to the literature because it focuses on principals' contributions in supporting college-and-career readiness. Additionally, in both cases, substantive, regular leadership contributions were made by business representatives external to the organization.

​Title:  Literacy / Career Readiness

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Career Readiness: An Analysis of Text Complexity for Occupational Reading Materials
Wei, Hua; Cromwell, Ashley Melissa; McClarty, Katie Larsen
Journal of Educational Research, v109 n3 p266-274 2016

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the broader college and career readiness agenda encourage educators, researchers, and other stakeholders to focus on preparing students for life after high school. A key emphasis is literacy, as the ability to read and comprehend written language is critical to success in college and careers. Understanding the level of reading comprehension needed for college and careers has important instructional implications. This study examined text complexity levels of various career texts using the Reading Maturity Metric and compared them to expectations in the CCSS. Text samples were selected for jobs from the five job zones in the Occupational Information Network database. Text complexity demands for all careers were generally in the CCSS range of college and career readiness and increased as job zone and required preparation increased. Results could provide specific career-related targets to make the CCSS reading requirements more relevant for students.