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Adding Work to the College-to-Career Discussion

ProfessionalsThere are a great many ways that today’s students can learn. As KQED’s MindShift recently reported, internships that provide students hands-on work experience can be just as valuable, if not more so, than traditional academic classroom opportunities.

In it’s report, MindShift highlighted the efforts of programs like Big Picture Learning, which requires its students to pursue their passions beyond the classroom by exploring employment opportunities and internships that align with their individual interests.

As Katrina Schwartz reported:

A cornerstone of Big Picture Learning model is that teenagers need to begin building networks and discovering their passions in the real world, through internships. Students spend two days each week with a mentor at a business or organization that interests them. During the first several weeks of school, students research opportunities, set up meetings with potential work sites, travel to meet potential mentors, and work to make a good impression. For school leaders, this entire process is valuable for young people who are about to embark into the world and be treated as adults.

Such approaches, aligning work opportunities with academic programs, can help make learning real and relevant for today’s students. They are able to see how the lessons they learn in the classroom better prepare them for the work opportunities available to them in the economy. And they quickly learn what skills and knowledge they need to be a success as they transition from college to career.

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