Partnering with Education
A strong partnership with secondary and postsecondary education institutions is essential to establishing the multiplicity of education optionsneeded to re-engage dropouts and to provide alternatives for overage and under-credit in-schoolstudents. These youth need a solid education leadingto credential and a set of applied skills. Employers emphasize that beyond academic mastery, they are inneed of individuals with skills in oral and written communication, teamwork, leadership, critical thinking ability, and a commitment to social and civic responsibility.
Coupling the knowledge and expertise of the workforce system, the youth providers, and the education system can bring the pieces of the puzzletogether in a way that provides youth with all the skills they need to succeed. It can create learning environments more suited to the learning styles of young adults that still place them on the path to secondary and postsecondary credentials. The key is the coupling of the academics with the workexperiences, support, and career exposure activities to provide youth the base of skills and knowledge necessary to successfully compete.
There are several examples in communities where workforce systems and educational systems which have created strong alliances to meet the education and training needs of youth, included those who might be classified as "disconnected." While the models vary, there are several approaches and steps which are useful:
- Work together to identify struggling and disconnected youth for services
- Provide the rigorous educational grounding that is complemented with relevant work experiences
- Give students access to multiple options for educational completion
- Re-engage youth who have dropped out of school through using school-work models which allow them to work while also completing their educational credentials
- Create partnerships between high schools, work program, and community college tocreate comprehensive concurrent enrollment programs which also provide work experience
- Utilize competency-based measures todocument mastery of skills required for graduation and labor market success