(January 28, 2022) Arvada, CO – Today the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with an action team of education, business and non-profit partners, announced the release of its second Work-Based Learning Toolkit to help guide businesses through considerations before, during and after a work-based learning (WBL) experience.
WBL opportunities connect local students and adults with businesses in an intentional way to engage in real-world work experiences. These opportunities can take the form of introductory experiences like industry tours, internships and job shadowing, to career prep training in the form of apprenticeships and certifications. When optimized fully, WBL is an equitable, flexible approach for employers of all sizes, industries, and locations to engage and upskill the community’s talent pipeline and directly serve the needs of the local economy.
WBL is critical to the local economy as employers typically lean heavily on education and non-profit systems to define expectations around workforce readiness. This outdated model leads to a lack of clarity and consistency in training and essential skill development. In a much-needed systems shift, businesses should serve as leaders around skill requirements and demand – and most importantly, must give career guidance and preparation opportunities.
The Work-Based Learning Toolkit Part 1 was introduced in August of 2021 as a missing guide for businesses to take the first step in this skill-development shift. The Arvada Chamber convened expert industry and education leaders to create a toolkit that would best serve the needs of our businesses and the workforce. Designing a roadmap for all local businesses to engage in WBL is necessary, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation reports that 78% of hiring managers say a skills gap persists in their industry.
The Work-Based Learning Toolkit Part 2 guides businesses and non-profits through detailed steps to properly host and evaluate work-based learning experiences. The toolkit introduces a checklist to prepare the workplace for WBL, reviews risk and liability questions, offers advice for working with students, adults, and people with disabilities, and walks through next steps after WBL.