In response to the U.S. Department of Education’s RFI on Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities for Youth, the EdSystems team offered public comments based on the PWR Act and community interests, examples, and concerns gathered from our I-WIN members.
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Welcome to I-WIN
The Illinois Work-Based Learning Innovation Network (I-WIN) 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.
About the I-WIN Resource Hub
This resource page is designed for secondary and postsecondary educators incorporating work-based learning in their curriculum. Resources include:
- Fundamentals of Work-Based Learning
- Virtual Work-Based Learning Resources, Models, and Activities for experiences across the continuum
- I-WIN Events
Have a resource, model, or activity to share?
Work-Based Learning Fundamentals
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.
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.
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. Look for its release in late 2020!
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:
Through a partnership between Education Systems Center at NIU and Practera, Illinois communities have free access to pilot the platform through SY21-22. Practera is a customizable, web-based application that brings together educators, employers, and students for structured virtual and hybrid work-based learning. Practera is best suited to support Team-Based Challenges and Career Development Experiences.
Want to learn more? Ready to become a pilot site? Complete the interest form.
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.
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.
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
Hosted by the Illinois 60 by 25 Network
The new Illinois Work-Based Learning Innovation Network (I-WIN) will support work-based learning educators in school districts and community colleges across Illinois.
As communities move to remote learning, we can also continue developing valuable employability skills through virtual work-based learning.