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Benefits of Work-based Learning Programs


Benefits of Work-based Learning Programs

Use the findings from these studies about the benefits of teen vocational development programs to help make the case to funders and others to support your program. Sharing this information can also help motivate potential volunteers to join you in your new endeavor.

Benefit #1: Students Increase in work readiness

Supporting Research: Phillips, S. D.; Blustein, D. L.; Jobin-Davis, K.; and White, S. F. "Preparation for the School-to-Work Transition: The Views of High School Students."Journal of Vocational Behavior61, no. 2 (October 2002): 202-216.

Benefit #2: When asked to apply academic and technical knowledge in the workplace, students are more confident and have more motivation to learn.

Supporting Research: Taylor, S. Getting Employers Involved: Improving Work-Based Learning through Employer Links. Report and Good Practice Guidelines. London, England: Learning and Skills Development Agency, 2001. (ED 454 414)

Benefit #3: Students improve in school “connectedness” and behavior (increase in school attendance; decrease in dropout rates; decrease in suspensions; increase in student engagement in the classroom at school)

Supporting Research: Medrich, E., Calderon, S. & Hoachlander, G. (In press). Contextual teaching and learning Strategies in high schools: Developing a vision for support and evaluation. In Brand, B. (Ed.), Alternative assessment and contextual teaching and learning: Essentials of high school reform. Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum and the Institute for Educational Leadership.

Benefit #4: High-risk students in school-to-work programs improve their GPAs

Supporting Research: Adler, L.; Searls, P.; Weihel, L.; Hemsley, R.; and Dick, J. "The Impact of a Community Based School-to Work Program for High Risk Youth." In Research for Education in a Democratic Society. Proceedings of the 1996 AERA Vocational Education Special Interest Group, edited by R. L. Joyner, pp. 45-62. Washington, DC: Vocational Education Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association, 1996. (ED 398 417)

Benefit #5: Students earn higher GPAs in youth apprenticeship programs

Supporting Research: Silverberg, M.; Bergeron, J.; Haimson, J.; and Nagatoshi, C. Facing the Challenge of Change: Experiences and Lessons of the School-to-Work/Youth Apprenticeship Demonstration Project. Final Report. Plainsboro, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, 1996. (ED 413 402)

What Youth Say
In addition to what the scholars say about the benefits of these programs, participating youth have their own positive opinions:

Students say: Internships and job shadowing programs helped develop/clarify their career goals

Supporting Research: Haimson, J, and Bellotti, J. Schooling in the Workplace: Increasing the Scale and Quality of Work-Based Learning. Final Report. Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research, 2001. (ED 455 444)

Students say: They developed skills in decision making, problem solving, interpersonal communication, customer relations, completing complicated tasks, and they learned appropriate job behavior.

Supporting Research: Hughes, K. L.; Bailey, T. R.; and Mechur, M. L. School-to-Work: Making a Difference in Education. A Research Report to America. New York: Institute on Education and the Economy, ColumbiaUniversity, 2001. (ED 449 364)

Students say: They learned how to apply knowledge to real situations. They were motivated to take responsibility for their own development and acquisition of knowledge.

Supporting Research: Hernández-Gantes, V. M., and Sanchez, D. "Producing Knowledge in Career-Oriented Programs: Students' Perspectives on Schooling Experiences." InResearch for Education in a Democratic Society. Proceedings of the 1996 AERA Vocational Education Special Interest Group, edited by R. L. Joyner, pp. 14-27. Washington, DC: Vocational Education Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association, 1996. (ED 398 417)

Students say: They had better attitudes toward their parents, other adults, and work. They had a more positive outlook on their future career options. They had goals for continued education and future employment.

Supporting Research: Scribner, J. P., and Wakelyn, D.Youth Apprenticeship Experiences in Wisconsin: A Stakeholder-Based Evaluation. 1997. (ED 422 505)

Students say:The biggest benefit was in learning job skills such as following direction, working well with others, and taking responsibility.

Supporting Research: Stasz, C., and Brewer D. J. "Work-Based Learning: Student Perspectives on Quality and Links to School." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 20, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 31-46.

Special Benefits for Disabled Youth
Research also indicates that vocational development and work-based learning programs are of especially powerful benefit for youth with disabilities. Consider these findings:

·         Work- based learning programs help disabled youth acquire higher paying jobs.

From: Blackorby, J., & Wagner, M. (1996). Longitudinal outcomes for youth with disabilities: Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study.Exceptional Children, 62, 399-419.

·         Many youth with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to participate in the kind of programs which will help them make career decisions

From: Luecking, R., & Fabian, E. S. (2000). Paid internships and employment success for youth in transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 23(2), 205-221.

·         Youth with disabilities struggle in the labor market as many employers hold low expectations about the work they can accomplish

From: Fairweather, J.S., & Shaver, D.M. (1990). A troubled future? Participation in postsecondary education by youths with disabilities. Journal of Higher Education, 61, 332-348.

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