An Overview of Resources

Work-Based Learning Continuum for Manufacturing

The following resource is compiled of models across the work-based learning continuum from communities throughout Illinois to offer high-quality experiences in manufacturing. We hope school districts and their partners can utilize, repurpose, and apply these models to support the design and implementation of work-based learning experiences aligned to a manufacturing pathway.

Career Awareness
Career Exploration

Chicago Public Schools hosts a Girls in Future Careers event to expose female students to career possibilities in the trades, healthcare, IT, and manufacturing. The event brings together industry experts and diversity-focused employers in a safe and inclusive space. Students engage with partners and participate in hands-on activities, presentations led by industry partners, and panel discussions. A sample event schedule is:

  • 9:30-10:00 am: Light Breakfast
  • 10:00-10:30 am: Welcome & Keynote by Kina McAfee, Mid America Carpenters
  • 10:30-11:30 am: Panel Discussion with Industry Leaders (Questions led by CPS Students, Topic: Closing the Gap on Gender Gap Disparities)
  • 11:00-12:30 am: Hands-on Activities/Financial Literacy/Soft Skills/Health Eating Workshops
  • 12:30-1:00 pm: Closing Mindfulness Exercise
  • 1:30 pm: End of Program
Team-Based Challenges
  • Greater Chicago Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (GCAMP) teamed up with local manufacturers to develop Quote to Production, a web series that follows the workflow from the quoting process to the finished product.
  • Sauk Valley Community College’s Manufacturing Bridge Course, part of their adult education programs, offers the opportunity to explore a career in manufacturing while developing skills and becoming more familiar with the school’s manufacturing training programs.
    • Explore project briefs from the course:
    • Additional authentic problems used in team-based challenges:
      • Supply chain disruption – What impact has the supply chain disruption had on manufacturing? How can companies ensure that the raw materials and ingredients that go into their products come from reputable suppliers, and that their distributors deliver goods to customers on-time and in the condition promised?
      • Labor shortage – How to overcome too few graduates educated in STEM disciplines, an outdated reputation of workplaces that aren’t safe, clean, or progressive, as well as the misconception by younger generations that manufacturing lacks competitive wages, innovation, and sophistication?
      • Worker safety – What are common safety concerns in the workplace and how can safety be ensured in manufacturing?
      • Emerging technologies in manufacturing – What is at the forefront of emerging technologies in manufacturing and what impact will this technology have on the workforce and the demand for these products?
      • Eliminating wasteful materials – How can companies increase operational efficiency and ensure that perishable ingredients are used prior to their expiration date to eliminate waste?
  • Northern Kane County shared about their regional team-based challenge, the 2023 Precision Machining Competition, in an I-WIN convening. Download sample blueprints.
Career Development Experiences

Related Resources

Employer Resources for Hosting High School Internships in Manufacturing

In partnership with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Education Foundation, EdSystems developed one-pager resources that specify how to best support students at every stage of their journey from elementary to and through postsecondary, with a focus on shifting how we speak about and engage women in manufacturing experiences.

Make the Future™, Connecting Girls to Manufacturing

These resources from the National Alliance for Equity in Partnerships provide free methods and tools to help educators, counselors, administrators, and recruiters break down barriers to engage more young women in STEM education and to pursue manufacturing careers. The following resources may be especially helpful for intentional recruitment and engagement of young women in manufacturing pathways:

Department of Labor: Can 16- And 17-Year-Olds Be Employed in Manufacturing?
  • Presentation slides from VIA and TMA workshop
  • One-page document that summarizes the presentation
  • Both include references, including direct quotes, to the Department of Labor regulations
Manufacturing Work-Based Learning Continuum of Experiences

The I-WIN community of practice on February 16, 2022 focused on experiences along the work-based learning continuum in the manufacturing sector.

Presenters include:

  • Sarah Hartwick, Vice President of Education & Workforce Policy, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
  • Eric Lasky, Assistant Principal, Ridgewood High School
  • Lisa Balata, Division Head of Curriculum, Ridgewood High School

Download the Presentation

Onboarding and Supporting Employer Partners

At the I-WIN convening on December 14, 2022, Valley Education for Employment System (VALEES) shared how it is engaging employers in their region to be prepared to host and support young people in work-based learning opportunities, including internships. Through an ISBE pilot opportunity in school year 2021–22, VALEES developed an internship micro-credential for employers that is informing this work.

Download the presentation