Innovation Manager
Director of Innovation and Implementation

Joliet Junior College: Support for Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning is a critical component in helping students determine their career interests and goals and can help young people–particularly those from underrepresented demographics–build personal connections to industry professionals. However, providing robust, meaningful work-based learning opportunities can be a challenge for school districts, particularly those that struggle with human capital.

In their ongoing commitment to enhance college and career pathway development, Joliet Junior College in Plainfield, Illinois, is actively working towards improving equitable work-based learning opportunities for high school students throughout the region.

Our Role

EdSystems is providing guidance to Joliet Junior College as they develop a work-based learning continuum alongside their partners: Wilco Area Career Center (WILCO), Grundy Area Vocational Center (GAVC), and Joliet Township High Schools (JTHS). These work-based learning opportunities will be available to regional high school students and align with Illinois’ College and Career Pathway Endorsement. This initiative bolsters students’ capacity to pursue endorsements in priority pathways. 

Beginning in 2023, our team engaged with college leadership to develop a plan and identify potential team members for engaging in work-based learning design. We are now collaborating with essential work-based learning stakeholders at Joliet Junior College and the region’s Three Rivers Education for Employment System, involving teachers in design teams to pinpoint gaps and create experiences. This ensures that students have access to work-based learning opportunities throughout the continuum, including career awareness, career exploration, team-based challenges, and career development experiences.

We will engage students, instructors, and industry partners in providing feedback on the work-based learning experiences, and teams will reconvene to make any adjustments based on stakeholder feedback. The leadership will then share the refined work-based learning models with regional school teams through professional development opportunities. In addition, finalized models will be shared as a statewide resource through the Illinois Work-Based Learning Innovation Network (I-WIN), and working teams will be invited to share their work through a special I-WIN webinar.

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