NYC CTE Work-based Learning Toolkit

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work-based learning overview
[cq_vc_accordion contentcolor=”#333333″ displayfirst=”on”][cq_vc_accordion_item accordiontitle=”About This Guide”]This guide is designed to help leadership and staff, including work-based learning coordinators, job developers and others from schools, community organizations and/or intermediary partners effectively recruit and engage a range of employers to provide work-based learning opportunities for students or young adults, and to support activities in the classroom. It recognizes that not all employers can provide the same levels of commitment to or involvement in a particular program or initiative, but that any employer can be engaged in one or more activities if the experience is designed and supported with employer capacity in mind. It also recognizes that employer engagement is not just one person in the organization’s job, but takes a concerted effort of staff and partners across the entire organization or initiative.[/cq_vc_accordion_item][/cq_vc_accordion]

This guide is a companion to the New Ways Work-Based Learning Toolkit, which provides detail on the overall approach to work-based learning and definitions of the full range of work-based learning activities provided for students or young adults over the course of their engagement with particular program. It also provides tip sheets, fact sheets and tools to support each experience. All individuals on the employer engagement team should be familiar with the toolkit—in particular the elements designed to support employer participation.

This guide is focused on framing and building capacity at two levels.

What's Inside?

The first level, described in Section One of the Quick Guide, is focused on the strategies your organization and partners can apply to effectively recruit and fully engage employers. Whether you represent a school, community-based organization or intermediary that is committed to making and managing the employer connections for your school or program, paying attention to and addressing each of the Five Organizational Strategies described below can greatly improve your employer recruitment and engagement capacity.

The second level, described in Section Two of this Quick Guide, focuses on activities that individuals conducting engagement activities can use to build their own personal capacity related to recruiting employers. By applying some basic marketing and sales strategies and approaches drawn from the private sector, all of those involved in employer recruitment, engagement and support can benefit from being aware of and applying the five strategies described in this section.

As the call for expanded work-based learning opportunities grows, it is important to shift from an individual approach to the employer recruitment, engagement and support process to one that can be embedded in a local system, with responsibilities spread among a number of individuals at the schools, community based organizations, community colleges and intermediary partners. The intent of this guide is to help improve employer engagement capacity of both individuals and organizations now, and lay a foundation for a broader local engagement effort in the future

Five Key Organizational Strategies

What can schools, community organizations and/or intermediary partners do to effectively engage employers?

Employers can play a number of critical roles in an effective community-based program or school. They can serve as design partners, inform curriculum or training, support activities in the classroom and provide a wide range of work-based learning activities for students or young adults. It’s important for the organization’s entire team to be engaged in the employer engagement process and to view employers as customers as well as partners. Generally, organizations that do a good job of engaging employers and community partners in their work share five common quality characteristics. By addressing each of the following five strategies, schools, community organizations and/or intermediary partners can broaden and sustain employer participation beyond their core employer base.

Effective Employer Engagement Organizations:

STRATEGY 1 - View Employers as Both Partners and Customers

Effective organizations define employers and community partners as primary customers in addition to the students or young adults they serve. They prioritize employer engagement and recruitment as a core and necessary function. Resources, staffing and organizational decisions reflect this dual-customer approach.

To build the employer relationship, organizations:

  • Prioritize employer engagement within the organization
  • Research the labor market and become familiar with regional needs and trends
  • Focus on employer benefits and address employer needs and motivations
  • Define the value proposition and focus on win/win opportunities
  • Value any and all levels of involvement
  • Cultivate long-term relationships with employers
STRATGEY 2 - Promote Customer Service

Effective organizations actively promote and practice customer service and demonstrate a sales and customer service orientation when interacting with employers. Staff and partners who interact with employers pay attention to understanding and addressing employers’ needs, and the approach is embedded in the program or school culture.

To promote customer service, organization:

  • Maintain a professional environment and approach
  • Train staff and promote a marketing, sales and customer service culture
  • Support employer volunteers and hosts, including frontline supervisors
  • Provide a range of participation options and easy and comfortable ways to participate
  • Find ways to support and sustain employer involvement
STRATEGY 3 - Target Resources

Effective organizations identify, leverage and target effort and resources, both human and capital, to support their employer engagement activities. Strategies, resources and people’s time are assigned to support a range of marketing, sales, service, support and evaluation functions.

To target resources, organization:

  • Dedicate staff to the engagement effort
  • Train and support staff and partners as “engagement specialists”
  • Budget resources and leverage partner contributions to specifically support marketing and other activities
  • Create materials specifically targeted to the employer audience
  • Utilize effective data management tools and processes
STRATEGY 4 - Apply A Comprehensive Approach

Effective organizations and their partners apply a comprehensive and connected approach to help guide their employer engagement and recruitment work. They apply clear and detailed marketing plans and follow benchmarked timelines. They work closely with other educational and workforce initiatives seeking to connect with and engage employers, and are formally connected to a larger, broader system.

To apply a comprehensive approach, organizations:

  • Ensure engagement activities are driven by a detailed marketing plan
  • Promote effective communication between all parties
  • Document agreements through formal MOUs
  • Connect to and leverage the work of others
  • Participate in wider employer engagement initiatives (beyond their own program)
STRATEGY 5 - Focus On Outcomes

Effective organizations and their partners apply continuous improvement practices to gauge the effectiveness of their employer engagement and recruitment efforts and guide their work. Schools and partners are focused on outcomes, and use a variety of measures to evaluate and improve their practice.

To focus on outcomes, organizations:

  • Set measurable goals and celebrate success
  • Measure the effectiveness of the engagement effort
  • Use customer satisfaction surveys to improve performance
  • Conduct regular organizational assessments and evaluations
  • Practice continuous improvement

Your school, community organization or intermediary and your employer engagement partners can expand their capacity to recruit and engage employers by paying attention to these five key strategies. A self-assessment that can help you identify your progress in each of these areas and develop plans for improvement is provided in Attachment 3 of this guide.

Effective Employer Engagement

5 Key Organizational Strategies

Promote Customer Service

  • Maintain a professional environment
  • Train staff in marketing and sales
  • Support employers
  • Provide a range of participation options
  • Sustain employer involvement

Focus On Outcomes

  • Set measurable goals
  • Measure effectiveness
  • Use customer satisfaction surveys
  • Conduct regular assessments and evaluations
  • Practice continuous improvement

View Employers As Both Partners & Customers

  • Prioritize employer engagement
  • Research the labor market
  • Focus on employer benefits and needs
  • Define the value proposition
  • Value all levels of involvement
  • Cultivate long-term relationships

Target Resources

  • Dedicate staff
  • Train staff as “engagement specialists”
  • Budget resources to support marketing activities
  • Create targeted materials Utilize data management tools

Apply A Comprehensive Approach

  • Utilize a detailed marketing plan
  • Promote effective communication
  • Document agreements
  • Leverage the work of others
  • Participate in broad community efforts
+ Quick Guide Overview

This guide is a companion to the New Ways Work-Based Learning Toolkit, which provides detail on the overall approach to work-based learning and definitions of the full range of work-based learning activities provided for students or young adults over the course of their engagement with particular program. It also provides tip sheets, fact sheets and tools to support each experience. All individuals on the employer engagement team should be familiar with the toolkit—in particular the elements designed to support employer participation.

This guide is focused on framing and building capacity at two levels.

What's Inside?

The first level, described in Section One of the Quick Guide, is focused on the strategies your organization and partners can apply to effectively recruit and fully engage employers. Whether you represent a school, community-based organization or intermediary that is committed to making and managing the employer connections for your school or program, paying attention to and addressing each of the Five Organizational Strategies described below can greatly improve your employer recruitment and engagement capacity.

The second level, described in Section Two of this Quick Guide, focuses on activities that individuals conducting engagement activities can use to build their own personal capacity related to recruiting employers. By applying some basic marketing and sales strategies and approaches drawn from the private sector, all of those involved in employer recruitment, engagement and support can benefit from being aware of and applying the five strategies described in this section.

As the call for expanded work-based learning opportunities grows, it is important to shift from an individual approach to the employer recruitment, engagement and support process to one that can be embedded in a local system, with responsibilities spread among a number of individuals at the schools, community based organizations, community colleges and intermediary partners. The intent of this guide is to help improve employer engagement capacity of both individuals and organizations now, and lay a foundation for a broader local engagement effort in the future

+ Effective Employer Engagement

Five Key Organizational Strategies

What can schools, community organizations and/or intermediary partners do to effectively engage employers?

Employers can play a number of critical roles in an effective community-based program or school. They can serve as design partners, inform curriculum or training, support activities in the classroom and provide a wide range of work-based learning activities for students or young adults. It’s important for the organization’s entire team to be engaged in the employer engagement process and to view employers as customers as well as partners. Generally, organizations that do a good job of engaging employers and community partners in their work share five common quality characteristics. By addressing each of the following five strategies, schools, community organizations and/or intermediary partners can broaden and sustain employer participation beyond their core employer base.

Effective Employer Engagement Organizations:

STRATEGY 1 - View Employers as Both Partners and Customers

Effective organizations define employers and community partners as primary customers in addition to the students or young adults they serve. They prioritize employer engagement and recruitment as a core and necessary function. Resources, staffing and organizational decisions reflect this dual-customer approach.

To build the employer relationship, organizations:

  • Prioritize employer engagement within the organization
  • Research the labor market and become familiar with regional needs and trends
  • Focus on employer benefits and address employer needs and motivations
  • Define the value proposition and focus on win/win opportunities
  • Value any and all levels of involvement
  • Cultivate long-term relationships with employers
STRATGEY 2 - Promote Customer Service

Effective organizations actively promote and practice customer service and demonstrate a sales and customer service orientation when interacting with employers. Staff and partners who interact with employers pay attention to understanding and addressing employers’ needs, and the approach is embedded in the program or school culture.

To promote customer service, organization:

  • Maintain a professional environment and approach
  • Train staff and promote a marketing, sales and customer service culture
  • Support employer volunteers and hosts, including frontline supervisors
  • Provide a range of participation options and easy and comfortable ways to participate
  • Find ways to support and sustain employer involvement
STRATEGY 3 - Target Resources

Effective organizations identify, leverage and target effort and resources, both human and capital, to support their employer engagement activities. Strategies, resources and people’s time are assigned to support a range of marketing, sales, service, support and evaluation functions.

To target resources, organization:

  • Dedicate staff to the engagement effort
  • Train and support staff and partners as “engagement specialists”
  • Budget resources and leverage partner contributions to specifically support marketing and other activities
  • Create materials specifically targeted to the employer audience
  • Utilize effective data management tools and processes
STRATEGY 4 - Apply A Comprehensive Approach

Effective organizations and their partners apply a comprehensive and connected approach to help guide their employer engagement and recruitment work. They apply clear and detailed marketing plans and follow benchmarked timelines. They work closely with other educational and workforce initiatives seeking to connect with and engage employers, and are formally connected to a larger, broader system.

To apply a comprehensive approach, organizations:

  • Ensure engagement activities are driven by a detailed marketing plan
  • Promote effective communication between all parties
  • Document agreements through formal MOUs
  • Connect to and leverage the work of others
  • Participate in wider employer engagement initiatives (beyond their own program)
STRATEGY 5 - Focus On Outcomes

Effective organizations and their partners apply continuous improvement practices to gauge the effectiveness of their employer engagement and recruitment efforts and guide their work. Schools and partners are focused on outcomes, and use a variety of measures to evaluate and improve their practice.

To focus on outcomes, organizations:

  • Set measurable goals and celebrate success
  • Measure the effectiveness of the engagement effort
  • Use customer satisfaction surveys to improve performance
  • Conduct regular organizational assessments and evaluations
  • Practice continuous improvement

Your school, community organization or intermediary and your employer engagement partners can expand their capacity to recruit and engage employers by paying attention to these five key strategies. A self-assessment that can help you identify your progress in each of these areas and develop plans for improvement is provided in Attachment 3 of this guide.

+ Employer Engagement Strategies Chart

Effective Employer Engagement

5 Key Organizational Strategies

Promote Customer Service

  • Maintain a professional environment
  • Train staff in marketing and sales
  • Support employers
  • Provide a range of participation options
  • Sustain employer involvement

Focus On Outcomes

  • Set measurable goals
  • Measure effectiveness
  • Use customer satisfaction surveys
  • Conduct regular assessments and evaluations
  • Practice continuous improvement

View Employers As Both Partners & Customers

  • Prioritize employer engagement
  • Research the labor market
  • Focus on employer benefits and needs
  • Define the value proposition
  • Value all levels of involvement
  • Cultivate long-term relationships

Target Resources

  • Dedicate staff
  • Train staff as “engagement specialists”
  • Budget resources to support marketing activities
  • Create targeted materials Utilize data management tools

Apply A Comprehensive Approach

  • Utilize a detailed marketing plan
  • Promote effective communication
  • Document agreements
  • Leverage the work of others
  • Participate in broad community efforts