How Career Based Learning Can Benefit Students
While the workforce may be years away for some students, it’s never too soon to start preparing! By attending an academics-oriented online school, students already learn about the importance of time management, organization, and collaboration—three major competencies that companies seek in potential employees. Now, a new career-focused online school is emerging as a great way to expose students to the skills and experiences needed to thrive in the real world.
Indiana Connections Career Academy (INCC) has launched for the 2017–2018 school year. Supported by Connections Academy, which has a long track record of success with Indiana students, this new full-time tuition-free online school will allow students statewide in grades 9–11 to get a head start on their career goals by combining general academics, personalized learning, career exploration, and work-based experiences. INCC will add grade 12 during its second year.
To learn more about INCC and the benefits of career-based learning, check out the Q&A below with INCC science teacher Meredith Stasik.
Q: For parents who are not familiar with a career-readiness-centered school, could you briefly explain how it works?
A: Our goal is to develop students’ employability. While earning their high school diploma, they also pursue a career-focused program to develop workforce skills. We will provide a personalized academic journey that will increase their confidence and knowledge, demonstrate their grit, and help them to become more adaptable to the world around them and in their future careers.
Students will get a chance to hear guest speakers from different career fields each month, and in higher grades, they will have personal mentors who will help guide them on the path to their chosen career. They will get to see firsthand how what they are learning in school can benefit their future.
Q: Are there specific career paths that the school will focus on?
A: Yes. The school will focus on five main career clusters: health; information technology; hospitality and tourism; manufacturing; and arts, A/V technology, and communication. There are many available careers within these clusters, and more may be added in the future.
Q: Does the school plan to connect kids with on-the-job training?
A: Yes. Students will gain on-the-job skills and exposure. In addition to having professional mentors, they will eventually spend part of the day doing schoolwork and part of the day working in a job of their choice.
Q: What interested you in teaching at INCC?
A: Being able to connect with students and help them start down a career path is exciting and refreshing! At INCC, we can take the students’ personal interests and goals and work that into our lessons and interactions with them. What’s even better is that they are getting engaged with their lessons at a much deeper level because they are seeing the value and importance of the lessons in their own lives!
Q: In your opinion, why is career readiness important?
A: Research has shown that a lot of employers are noticing that students don’t know how to make the transition from school to career. This program will help them become more independent and mature by giving them real-life hands-on experience in order to gain the skills that employers are looking for. There’s a lot of focus on college in schools, which I think discredits the real world. We want students to understand that workforce preparation is just as important and valid as preparing for college.
Q: What is the benefit of teaching at an online school versus a bricks-and-mortar school?
A: The personalization. I love being able to work with students one-on-one—it allows me to better understand their needs.
Q: How do you think an education at INCC will help prepare students for a bright and successful future?
A: Students will be ahead of the curve as compared to their peers—and we will show them how they are improving on a daily basis. We ultimately want our students to be confident, independent, and happy. The day after they graduate, they will be ready to take on a career, not just a job.
Q: If there was one thing that you could tell a prospective parent as he or she is making the decision to enroll a child in INCC, what would it be?
A: Do it! All the teachers here have such enthusiasm and excitement, and they are all highly trained. We get to work together on this unique venture that is going to give students a great academic experience. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be wonderful for any student.
How do you think a career-focused learning approach can help students? Share your thoughts in the comments!