Working to Learn and Learning to Work: A state-by-state analysis of high school work-based learning policies

Several pieces of federal legislation, including the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) have encouraged and incentivized states to implement work-based learning policies and programs at the secondary level. Due to the considerable flexibility states have in implementing these programs there are a wide base of best practices and policies to implementing work-based learning in high schools. In order to better understand states’ approaches to work-based learning Bellweather Education Partners and American Student Assistance report on their assessment of each state’s policies. The assessment was based off of a carefully designed rubric which utilized national research on high-quality work-based learning programs. The assessment also included soliciting feedback from state-level experts on work-based learning programsin all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This report provides highlights of the key themes and recommendations identified through the analysis. Through this report state leaders recieve an in depth analysis of their own state's approach to work-based learning while also learning from the research about recommendations to move forward with. The recommendations align closely to the identified criteria within the rubric and offer states a roadmap for implementing robust, high-quality work-based learning that prepares young people for success beyond high school, strengthens the talent pipelines of local businesses, and addresses the economic and workforce needs of entire communities.

Note: This resource links to a summary of the key findings and recommendations. For the full state-by-state analysis of high school work-based learning, please visit this link.

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March 2021