Immersion

This phase of employer engagement focuses on immersing students into the workplace through a structured internship program. This includes ongoing exposure to various company work sites, relevant workplace assignments intended to demonstrate and advance their academic, technical and employability skills, and workplace professionalism as exhibited through dress code, work ethic, and appropriate behavior and interaction.

Internships

An internship can be paid or unpaid, completed during the school term or during the summer, and may allow the intern to gain credit toward graduation. In Delaware, students may earn credit for their internship through the work-based learning course. Students who choose to do internships during the school year usually work part time, balancing work and classes. Employers interview and hire students for the duration of the internship. The length and depth of the internship placement should provide ample opportunity for the student and employer to advance the student’s skills sets, while participating in meaningful work assignments, duties, and experiences. Interns should routinely participate in activities beyond the functions of basic, entry-level employment.

School-based Enterprises

A school-based enterprise (SBE) is an entrepreneurial operation managed and operated by students. SBEs are businesses housed in a school setting, which provide actual goods and/or services to meet the needs of the market. These businesses integrate academic content for subjects such as marketing, finance, hospitality, management, etc. For many students, they provide the first work experience; for others, they provide an opportunity to build management, supervision and leadership skills.

SBEs may sell to consumers through a permanent location, a mobile kiosk, or online. Business services may be wide ranging, including: selling agricultural products/ produce, providing basic financial services through a credit union branch, operating a convenience or spirit store, crafting and selling handcrafted or artisan goods, providing computer technical support, and much more.

Cooperative Education

A cooperative education program (co-op) provides students with the opportunity to gain work experience in their career fields. Co-ops tend to be longer in duration, meet full-time employment standards, and are typically completed by advanced level high school students and postsecondary students. At the secondary level, a co-op is typically available to senior students with the opportunity to earn high school credits through the completion of a semester-long unpaid work placement while also attending classes.

Nationally, co-ops vary significantly from program to program. Typically, co-ops last anywhere from three to 12 months. Some postsecondary co-op programs expect students to complete two or three experiences. As a result, students take longer to graduate, but exit with a year of work experience accumulated over the course of their postsecondary career. Ultimately, due to the substantial hours spent working, students are able to provide a significant contribution to an organization, such as completing large, substantial projects.

Pre-apprenticeships

A pre-apprenticeship program is designed to prepare students to succeed in an apprenticeship program. Students who complete a pre-apprenticeship program will often be able to enter an apprenticeship program at an advanced stage or pay grade. A quality pre-apprenticeship program is one that incorporates the following elements: industry-recognized curriculum and training standards; strong recruitment strategies that address barriers to participation; access to appropriate support services; formalized connections with one or more apprenticeship programs, and hands-on training.

Pre-apprenticeship programs that serve secondary students are specifically referred to as “youth apprenticeships” or “high school apprenticeships” and follow the same parameters and expectations as a postsecondary pre-apprenticeship program; however, they allow students to begin work earlier. In such cases, a high school or postsecondary institution provides the related instruction in collaboration with other community and employer partners for the purpose of advancing students into apprenticeships and accelerating their progress along their chosen career pathway.

Employers interview and hire students for the duration of the pre-apprenticeship. The length and depth of the placement should provide ample opportunity for the student and employer to advance the student’s skills sets, while participating in meaningful work assignments, duties, and experiences. Students should routinely participate in activities beyond the functions of basic, entry-level employment.

Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship program is a flexible training experience that combines job-related technical instruction with structured on-the-job learning experiences. Apprenticeships can include registered programs with the United States Department of Labor, company-specific programs that are administrated by a company, and industry-specific programs that are administrated by a postsecondary institution in partnership with one or more companies. Given this, apprenticeship programs can vary in size.

Apprenticeship program requirements include:

  • Graduated pay. Apprentices start working from day one with incremental wage increases as they become more proficient on the job. Apprenticeship programs can range from one to four years in length.
  • Related instruction. Instruction, technical training, and/or other certified training should be provided by the employer and postsecondary institution, employing distance and computer-based learning approaches.
  • National occupational credential. Upon completion of an apprenticeship program, participants receive a credential that certifies occupational proficiency.

Expectations and requirements for participants are set by the host organization and must, at minimum, meet employment standards set by the US Department of Labor. Most apprenticeship programs require participants to be at least 18 years of age. Pre-apprenticeship programs are one way to accelerate a student’s progress and entry into an apprenticeship program.

Employers interview and hire students for the duration of the apprenticeship. The length and depth of the placement should provide ample opportunity for the student and employer to advance the student’s skills sets, while participating in meaningful work assignments, duties, and experiences. Students should routinely participate in activities beyond the functions of basic, entry-level employment.