(May 25, 2023) Arvada, CO – Today the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with education, business and non-profit partners, announced the release of its third Work-Based Learning Toolkit to help guide businesses through considerations of expanding a work-based learning (WBL) program.
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 This outdated model leads to a lack of clarity and consistency in training and essential skill development.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, introduced in January 2022, 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.
The Work-Based Learning Toolkit Part 3 helps guide a business after its first successful WBL experience towards a sustainable, long-term program. In this third and final toolkit, we discuss varying steps to review and consider when expanding your work-based learning program.
Read all Work-Based Learning Toolkits at arvadachamber.org/WBLtoolkit. To get started with WBL opportunities in Arvada, please fill out this interest form.
Earn up to $10,000 for your Work-Based Learning Program!
In May of 2022, the Colorado State Legislature passed Senate Bill 22-140, creating the WBLI Program. The goal of the $3 million program is to increase and expand the number of work-based learning opportunities available to youth and adults across Colorado by providing monetary incentives to Employers to create new, or enhance existing, work-based learning programs. WBLIP will reimburse employers up to $10,000 for developing and implementing Work-Based Learning activities in your company through May 31, 2024. Learn more about the WBLI Program and how the Arvada Chamber can offer support.