We at the Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance believe a student’s “college/no-college” decision needs to be informed with good information for the result to be most productive.
Currently students are being encouraged to go to college without having a firm plan. Going to college without a plan often results in students accumulating high amounts of burdensome debt, dropping out before graduation and not being able to find a job after graduation. A college education is not the only ticket to a productive, successful career. Knowing the path to what you want to be is the key to a student’s success during and after high school.
Work-based learning is helping K-12 education realign with the needs of our rapidly changing economic landscape. Teachers begin this practice at the elementary level by inviting experts into their classrooms for presentations and taking groups of students on site visits to local businesses to learn about different occupations. During the middle school years work-based learning practice encourages teachers to connect with business people from the industries in their community to mentor individual and groups of students for a particular subject or specific project. As middle school students discover their areas of interest they can begin applying for opportunities to job shadow an expert in those occupations. As students enter high school they will work with school-based career counselors and advisory staff to design pathways to their future occupational goals including connection points between secondary and post-secondary education. This often includes selecting particular classes, participating in activities, and applying for internships.
he good news is, there are tremendous opportunities in this new economy for high school and college graduates that will lead to students to satisfying and solid wage earning careers. Meaningful career conversations that encourage students to explore, investigate and train in occupations that are in high demand in our economy are going to make a difference for our children.
The Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance, through the leadership community of K-12 schools in our region, has launched an innovative comprehensive initiative to accomplish all of these How’s. We have partnered with more than 100 local businesses that have sponsored over 200 work-based learning opportunities in hundreds of occupational areas and dozens of career pathways. We have room for nearly 6,000 students to participate! And, we continue to grow!
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