Released in 2019, the Career Development Experience Toolkit adheres to the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act’s framework for College and Career Pathway Endorsements (CCPE). While these materials adhere to the CCPE framework for high school students, they serve any organization seeking to provide youth with rigorous work-based learning opportunities. In 2021, EdSystems released a Companion Piece to provide resources to address the needs of stakeholders outside of a traditional high school setting. In 2022, the team released a Facilitation Guide.
Implementation of the toolkit and its accompanying resources should be done with careful consideration of your participants. The practices listed are not exhaustive and are meant to be adaptable to fit the needs of your community.
A supervised work experience relating to an individual’s career area of interest that:
The individual who will participate in the CDE: high school student, opportunity youth, participant in a non-profit/community-based youth development program, etc.
Lead entity working to organize and coordinate the delivery of CDEs to participants: school, non-profit or community-based organization, chamber of commerce, other public/private institutions, religious organization, etc. May also be a convening organization or intermediary in a community.
Typically thought of as the employer, the company or organization providing the workplace or authentic working conditions for a participant to complete their CDE.
Why should participants complete a career development experience?
Why should hosts provide a career development experience?
For an extended list of considerations, please refer to the CDE Toolkit Companion Piece.
Models may include any of the following examples:
Explore barriers to minority participation and potential solutions.
Ultimately, a CDE should reinforce that a host is taking on a larger role in the growth and development of essential and technical employability competencies for participants along the continuum of work-based learning experiences. Your organization and its host partners need to develop strong trusting relationships to collaborate and ensure the preparedness and subsequent competency development of participants in their CDE. The larger role of a host shifts away from the traditional model of learning and actively engages participants in the professional world. Hosts take on a vital role of supporting participant learning through doing rather than studying. In the case of the CDE, hosts become the main individuals responsible for coaching and assessing participant performance.
Access to transportation can be a major barrier and a source of stress for participants. Sometimes there are opportunities they are not aware of or unsure of how to access. Managing organizations need to work closely with participants to resolve any transportation issues or concerns. It is important for managing organizations to develop a transportation plan with participants that is consistent and reliable to ensure strong attendance at their CDE. Make sure participants also have a back-up plan in place and are aware of who to contact in the event of any transportation issues.
Depending on the context and needs of hosts, there may be multiple angles to recruit Hosts to support your CDE program. Initially, consider the hosts with whom you have existing relationships:
Consider hosts that may be able to provide payment to participants and/or are able and willing to provide CDE opportunities embedded within school hours. This could prove beneficial for students with existing part-time jobs or other commitments that may hinder them from engaging in a CDE.
See the Equity in Career Development Experiences section in the CDE Companion Piece to learn more.
Participants can demonstrate readiness in several ways, including:
Through their Career Center for Discovery, District 214 developed digital modules on their learning management system for students to complete prior to participation in a CDE. In-person workshop sessions are available for those participants in need of more direct guidance.
Vermilion County Works (VCW) operates several special training programs for youth ages 16–24. VCW contracts with youth-serving agencies to provide pre-employment skills training prior to youth being placed in work experience, limited internships, or employment with local employers.
REACH has career readiness workshops in partner schools for interested applicants to the internship program. Students are able to participate in resume writing, interview prep, and networking events to strengthen their readiness for the work world.
Refer to the Essential Employability and Technical Competencies as outlined in the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act to enhance your participant preparation activities. These competencies serve as quality indicators of an individual’s readiness to enter an industry or to pursue further education in that field. These competencies were developed in consultation with state agencies and key industry experts including hiring professionals, education and training professionals, and industry associations.
Along with providing clear expectations and information about your CDE program, collaborate with your hosts to determine a plan for working with participants. Hosts should consider:
Some participants may not have a government-issued ID or bank account, which may limit them from participating if this is a requirement by the host. How can your managing organization alleviate this barrier of access?
A tool-based observational assessment of a participant’s performance in a career development experience given by an adult supervisor and shared with the participant that addresses foundational professional skills including, at a minimum, those outlined in the Essential Employability Skills framework. The professional skills assessment tool is to be used primarily as a feedback tool and development strategy and not as the sole basis for a grade or credit determination.
Consider the graph of the Gartner Hype Cycle that is used to show the graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of new technologies as it relates to a participant’s CDE and may affect their performance:
At the conclusion of their CDE, participants should be provided the opportunity to evaluate their placement site and any host staff with whom they directly worked. This information is helpful for your organization to determine any items that went well and others that need to be addressed for improvement of future CDEs.
Items to be addressed on this assessment:
Some general topics to be covered in the assessment of the CDE are: