Welcome to I-WIN

The Illinois Work-Based Learning Innovation Network is designed to:

  • Highlight and explore innovative models for work-based learning with a current focus on virtual opportunities.
  • Engage in conversations on creating sustainable, high-quality models that provide broader and more equitable access to work-based learning, building social capital for Black and Latinx students.
  • Build connections among communities to offer best practices, learnings, and resources.
  • Identify needs for state policy changes or support systems.

Join school districts and community colleges across the State as we share learnings about leveraging innovative models for scaling high-quality work-based learning opportunities. Download the overview to share with your colleagues.

I-WIN Events

Creating more Equitable CDEs: The Career Development Experience Toolkit Facilitation Guide and Why Mentorship Matters
Creating more Equitable CDEs: The Career Development Experience Toolkit Facilitation Guide and Why Mentorship Matters

Download the Career Development Experience Toolkit Facilitation Guide

On August 16, 2022, EdSystems introduced the Career Development Experience Toolkit Facilitation Guide, a new resource designed to guide communities through the process of creating and maintaining successful Career Development Experiences (CDEs). This resource compiles CDE best practices and resources into manageable action items adaptable to your community’s needs. Additionally, the guide highlights common barriers and solutions for engaging underrepresented youth as well as how mentorship can make CDEs more equitable.

Our goal is to improve access and engagement in CDEs across the state. Whether you are in the early planning stages or looking for a way to improve your existing WBL programming, we hope that this resource can help your community design together and build high-quality CDEs.

Download the presentation

Additional Career Development Experience Resources

The Facilitation Guide builds on existing resources published by EdSystems:

  • Career Development Experience Toolkit
    The Career Development Experience (CDE) Toolkit, released in Fall 2019, adheres to the framework of the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act for College and Career Pathway Endorsements. The guide and online resources are designed to serve any organization that seeks to provide rigorous work-based learning opportunities to youth. Career Development Experiences are part of Illinois’ broader work-based learning continuum and refer to a broad array of experiential learning that addresses the components included in the statutory definition of the Career Pathways Dictionary.
  • Career Development Experience Toolkit Companion Piece
    The purpose of this extension is to explore career development experiences (CDE) and provide resources to address the needs of stakeholders outside of a traditional high school setting including workforce development organizations, community-based organizations, and alternative high schools. This companion piece targets these organizations and employers in order to serve youth more inclusively.

WBL Continuum in D214's Business Pathway: I-WIN July 2022 Community of Practice
WBL Continuum in D214's Business Pathway: I-WIN July 2022 Community of Practice

On July 18, 2022, the Illinois WBL Innovation Network focused on experiences along the work-based learning continuum in the business sector. Learn how District 214, along with their industry and school partners, support and design opportunities in their business pathway.

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Energy Conservation School-Based Enterprise: I-WIN June 2022 Community of Practice
Energy Conservation School-Based Enterprise: I-WIN June 2022 Community of Practice

At the I-WIN convening on June 27, 2022, leaders from California-based Climate Action Pathways for Schools shared their model for inspiring and implementing climate education programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving money for school districts.

WBL Continuum in Information Technology: I-WIN March 2022 Community of Practice
WBL Continuum in Information Technology: I-WIN March 2022 Community of Practice

Our community of practice on March 22, 2022, focused on experiences along the work-based learning continuum in the IT sector. Learn how Science Olympiad, along with their industry and school partners, support and design opportunities in IT.

Presenters include:

  • Gina Schuyler, CTE Department Chair for Careers and Community Partnerships, D127 – Grayslake Central and North
  • Alex Escareno, Professional Development Coordinator, Lake County Tech Campus
  • Katrina Pavlik, Deputy Executive Director, Science Olympiad
  • Dr. John Loehr, Vice President of STEM Education, Science Olympiad
  • Dr. Peter Hung, The Aerospace Corporation
  • Russ Burleson, Northrup Grumman

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WBL Continuum in Manufacturing: I-WIN February 2022 Community of Practice
WBL Continuum in Manufacturing: I-WIN February 2022 Community of Practice

Our February 2022 community of practice focused on experiences along the work-based learning continuum in the manufacturing sector. Learn how Ridgewood High School designed manufacturing work-based learning along the continuum, plus an update from the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association on their community efforts and insights for providing meaningful work-based learning experiences.

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

WBL Continuum in Education: I-WIN November 2021 Community of Practice
WBL Continuum in Education: I-WIN November 2021 Community of Practice

Our November 2021 community of practice focused on experiences along the work-based learning continuum in the education sector. Guest speakers included:

  • Brooke May and Hannah Middleton, Instructors and Coordinators from the Southern Illinois Future Teachers Coalition, presented on their work-based learning models and how they are targeting programming to create a diverse educator pipeline.
  • Lindsey Jensen, Educators Rising Illinois State Coordinator, provided an overview of Educators Rising and how this Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) can support work-based learning experiences.

Download the Presentation

WBL Continuum in Health Sciences: I-WIN September 2021 Community of Practice
WBL Continuum in Health Sciences: I-WIN September 2021 Community of Practice

Our community of practice on September 20, 2021, focused on experiences along the work-based learning continuum in the Health Sciences sector.

  • The Whiteside Area Career Center provided an overview of their Career Exploration experiences and opportunities for young people to engage directly with Health Science professionals.
  • District 211 discussed the development process of their Team-Based Challenges that are embedded in Health Science coursework.
  • Danville Area Community College presented on their clinical experience model co-developed with employers to provide Career Development Experiences for students in the Health Sciences pathway.

Download the Presentation

Designing Experiences Along the WBL Continuum: I-WIN Summer 2021 Workshops
Designing Experiences Along the WBL Continuum: I-WIN Summer 2021 Workshops

In the summer of 2021, I-WIN hosted a three-part workshop series for designing experiences along the WBL continuum. The I-WIN workshops began with an overview by Pathways & Policy Manager Heather Penczak, which included a review of definitions from the Illinois Career Pathways Dictionary and an overview of resources, best practices, and community models to provide inspiration and spark thinking for attendees. Attendees then moved into breakout rooms to develop an experience that addresses the design challenge. Access the recordings and resources below.

Interested in hosting an I-WIN workshop for your school or district? Contact Heather Penczak.

Career Exploration Workshop: June 23, 2021

Download the Presentation
Download the Design Challenge Template
Download the Career Exploration Template

Team-Based Challenges Workshop: July 21, 2021

Download the Presentation
Download the Design Challenge Template
Download the Team-Based Challenge Template

Career Development Experience Workshop: August 11, 2021

Download the Presentation
Download the Illinois Career Pathways Dictionary
Download the Career Development Experience Template

Reflections & Innovations: I-WIN May 2021 Community of Practice
Reflections & Innovations: I-WIN May 2021 Community of Practice

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The May 2021 I-WIN session featured community presentations from the Mayor’s Employer Advisory Council in Evanston and North Chicago Community High School on their processes to shift typically in-person WBL events to fully virtual opportunities, plus a comparison of virtual and in-person networking events for high school students by EdSystems intern Edith L.

Host/Partner Engagement: I-WIN April 2021 Community of Practice
Host/Partner Engagement: I-WIN April 2021 Community of Practice

Download the Presentation

The April 2021 I-WIN session featured community presentations from Alignment Rockford and Chicago Public Schools on engagement with partners who host work-based learning experiences including recruitment, ongoing support, and celebration of their partnerships. We then previewed a Statewide Team-Based Challenge resource bank of templates and example challenge ideas aligned to the College and Career Pathway Endorsement areas.

Data Insights & Models: I-WIN March 2021 Community of Practice
Data Insights & Models: I-WIN March 2021 Community of Practice

The March 2021 I-WIN session included a review of lessons and insights from collecting, analyzing, and reporting on metrics related to work-based learning from the Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership and a review of emerging ISBE expectations for reporting related to the College and Career Readiness Indicator, the College and Career Pathways Endorsement, and Perkins.

Advancing Equity Through Work-Based Learning: I-WIN January 2021 Community of Practice
Advancing Equity Through Work-Based Learning: I-WIN January 2021 Community of Practice

The January 2021 I-WIN convening includes a review of the Brookings report on how work-based learning can advance equity and opportunity, as well as a presentation from Here to Here on the value and impact of work-based learning to address educational equity and opportunity gaps.

Career Development Experiences in Health Sciences: I-WIN December 2020 Community of Practice
Career Development Experiences in Health Sciences: I-WIN December 2020 Community of Practice

Download the Presentation

The December 2020 convening of I-WIN began with an overview of Career Development Experiences by Heather Penczak. Presenter Jennifer Irvin, School-Community Education Partner at BJC Healthcare, shared on high school internships and healthcare career exploration in East St. Louis, including how this initiative has adapted due to COVID-19. Presenter Michael Kuhn, Principal at Woodruff Career & Technical Center shared on his school’s partnership with UnityPoint Health and how their career program offerings are evolving.

Kick-Off: I-WIN October 2020 Community of Practice
Kick-Off: I-WIN October 2020 Community of Practice

At the inaugural community of practice session, EdSystems’ Policy & Program Manager Heather Penczak provided an overview of work-based learning and the I-WIN initiative. Maud Daudon, Executive Leader of Career Connect Washington, shared the framework her organization used to create virtual work-based learning experiences. Kathleen Burley, Executive Director of GCAMP, shared how they’ve adapted opportunities for Advanced Manufacturing pathways since the start of the pandemic. John Loehr, Vice President of STEM Education for Science Olympiad, shared available resources educators can use for remote learning, including challenge-based learning exercises and interaction logs.

Statewide Team-Based Challenge Resource Bank

To support the creation of innovative team-based challenges, I-WIN is providing a statewide resource bank with ideas and examples from Illinois schools. Explore the resources and then download the template and submit your own exemplar.

Submit a Team-Based Challenge

Resources

Have a resource, model, or activity to share?

New! Work-Based Learning Continuum for Education​

Explore a compilation of models across the work-based learning continuum from communities throughout Illinois that offer high-quality experiences in education pathways. Utilize, repurpose, and apply these models to support your design and implementation of work-based learning experiences.

Work-Based Learning Fundamentals

Report cover for the "Recommended Technical and Essential Employability Competencies for College and Career Pathway Endorsements," released in April 2020. Cover includes the PWR Act logo and the Seal of the State of Illinois.

Recommended Technical and Essential Employability Competencies

The competencies set forth in this document were developed through an iterative process involving public-private steering committees established pursuant to the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act in order to implement College and Career Pathway Endorsements.

Report cover for "Career Development Experience Toolkit"

Career Development Experience Toolkit

The Career Development Experience (CDE) Toolkit, released in Fall 2019, adheres to the framework of the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act for College and Career Pathway Endorsements. The guide and online resources are designed to serve any organization that seeks to provide rigorous work-based learning opportunities to youth. Career Development Experiences are part of Illinois’ broader work-based learning continuum and refer to a broad array of experiential learning that addresses the components included in the statutory definition of the Career Pathways Dictionary.

Career Development Experience Toolkit Companion Piece

The purpose of this extension is to explore career development experiences (CDE) and provide resources to address the needs of stakeholders outside of a traditional high school setting including workforce development organizations, community-based organizations, and alternative high schools. This companion piece targets these organizations and employers in order to serve youth more inclusively.

Report cover for "Career Pathways Dictionary: A Unified State Framework for COllege and Career Readiness and Success." Cover includes the Seal of the State of Illinois and the logo for Work Learn Grow: Pathways to the Jobs of Illinois' Future.

Career Pathways Dictionary

Career pathways in Illinois are administered by a variety of private, state, and local entities; and thus several state education and workforce committees, including an extensive base of stakeholders, developed agreed-upon definitions to ensure alignment across agencies, legal frameworks, and initiatives.

Illinois State Board of Education: WBL Manual

This manual provides guidance for creating and improving work-based learning opportunities for K-12 students. Activities are designed to introduce Career Exploration as soon as possible, build increasingly interactive experiences, and maximize student exposure to careers and work-based learning opportunities by the time they complete secondary education.​ This resource is a living document and ISBE would value any feedback or resources as they continue to keep guidance updated.

Virtual Resources, Models, and Activities

We seek to provide high-quality work-based learning opportunities whether we are meeting with students in-person or remotely. Virtual experiences can create equitable environments for students to access these opportunities, but where to begin? Explore the resources we’ve curated for introducing virtual activities and experiences along the work-based learning continuum:

Related Webinars

Heather Strom and David Osborne from the Illinois State Board of Education present on defining and exploring options to incorporate the full continuum of work-based learning into CTE programs and provide insights on the new Workplace Experience courses that ISBE has introduced.

Watch the Recording

Given at the ICCB Forum for Excellence, this presentation is centered on how virtual work-based learning, needed now to address our current safety and health needs, can and should be designed for sustainability and equity for long-term use because of the way that virtual WBL helps break down common barriers like transportation and expands the type of partner sites and mentors that communities can engage with to offer WBL. The presentation provides sample activities, resources, and community models for ensuring authentic, high-quality WBL in a virtual setting. Participants are prompted to think through various factors in their design process for virtual WBL to address the needs of all stakeholders and ensure that these opportunities are expanding access, especially to students with limited social capital. The presentation also provides an overview of the Illinois Work-Based Learning Innovation Network that is piloting use of a virtual platform in communities across Illinois. Presented by Heather Penczak, Carl Schneider, and Nikki James.

Download the slide deck.

Presented during the 2020 College Changes Everything Conference, this session explores and provides resources on how to create work-based learning experiences that engage youth in meaningful and authentic tasks, while also providing opportunities for them to take initiative and offer new perspectives in the workplace. Hear from community representatives who are actively engaged in collaborative partnerships that set expectations and provide support for an assets- and needs-based approach to professionally develop youth.

Moderator: Heather Penczak, Policy & Program Manager, Education Systems Center
Presenters: Jennifer Irvin, School-Community Education Partner at BJC Healthcare; Tana Francellno, Career Partnership Manager, Youth Job Center; Neil Gambow, Chair – Mayor’s Employer Advisory Council, Evanston, IL; Marc Battista, Associate Vice President of Workforce Education, Oakton Community College

View the webinar presentation (scroll to “Collaborative Partnerships: Engaging and Supporting Youth in Work-Based Learning”)

Download the slide deck.

Hosted by the Illinois 60 by 25 Network

Download the slide deck

Blog Posts

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