Tools & Tips

Effective Work-Based Learning – Core Principles

To help employers create high-quality work-based learning programs, JFF has identified seven key principles for effective work-based learning models.These principles offer guidelines for developing features that will increase the number of individuals who access and complete work- based learning experiences, acquire skills and knowledge valued by employers, and enter and advance in careers. According to the principles, effective work-based learning models:
Support entry and advancement in a career track—Effective models of work-based learning provide participants with opportunities to build knowledge, develop skills, and advance in specific career paths. Work-based learning supports the development of
both industry-specific technical skills and professional skills—such as communication, teamwork, and problem solving—that nearly all employers value.
Provide meaningful job tasks that build career skills and knowledge—Successful work-based learning provides participants with opportunities to engage in appropriately complex and relevant tasks aligned with individual career goals. Work-based learning should include mentoring and supervision, and should continue over a sustained period of time so participants have adequate opportunities to perform meaningful job tasks.
Offer compensation—Compensating participants in work-based learning helps them stay focused and motivated by honoring their individual contributions to the business. Work-based learning programs that don’t offer compensation are likely to preclude many individuals who need paid employment from career advancing opportunities.
Identify target skills and how gains will be validated—An understanding of the skills to be attained increases the value of work-based learning to employers and learners alike. Skill validation can occur through reflective practices or formal assessments for demonstrating job competencies.
• Reward skill development—Effective models reinforce learning by rewarding skill development through a variety of mechanisms, including increased wages and benefits, high school or postsecondary, credit, opportunities to become permanent employees, and promotions for incumbent workers.
Support college entry, persistence, and completion—Work-based learning should link to secondary and postsecondary programs of study and completion of postsecondary credentials whenever possible. Its role in reinforcing classroom learning and its potential to provide students with needed nancial support also foster persistence and completion.
Provide comprehensive supports to learners, both students and incumbent workers—Effective models incorporate career advising or coaching that help participants nd the information they need to make informed choices about their careers. Child care, transportation assistance, and other supports for circumstances that challenge learner progress are critical to success for many.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor Making work-based learning work for retail: a guide for retail employers

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