Work Based Learning: A Proven Model
The National Acamy Foundation (NAF) recently released Work-based Learning Exemplars: Worthwhile Internship Experiences for Students, Local Employers, and the Community. The report focuses on internships that NAF, a “network of career-themed academies that open doors for underserved high school students to viable careers,” studied to identify best practices in work-based learning. NAF academies, offering a rigorous curriculum in history, literature, mathematics, and science in public schools nationwide, also offer NAF certification to their graduates who:
1. “Demonstrate career knowledge, skills, and proficiency through end-of-course and project assessments, each one directly informed by industry professionals; and
2. “Complete an internship or culminating work-based learning experience that has been assessed by their supervisor.”
Each academy is organized around one of five career themes: engineering, finance, health sciences, hospitality and tourism, and information technology. In school year 2011-12, some 60,000 students attended 469 academies in 39 states, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The students also worked with employees from over 2,500 companies.
The report features four academies, two in finance and one each in engineering, and hospitality and tourism.
The Southwest Miami High School Academy of Finance has a close partnership with the South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union to help students learn about money, investing it, and its benefits to a community. The credit union serves Miami-Dade County Public Schools employees, students, and families and the academy operates an in-school, student-run mini-branch of it. The credit union offers a free financial literacy program to students and teachers. It also offers an interview-skills “boot camp,” to help students improve their chances to get the jobs they seek. Sixteen students become interns at the credit union itself, the largest of the academy’s internship programs and one sought by as many as 200 applicants per year. Interns also run marketing programs for the credit union.
The Lancaster High School Academy of Finance in
The Harmony Magnet Academy of Engineering in
As one of its work-based learning opportunities, the Skyline High School Academy of Hospitality & Tourism in