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Benefits Of Work-based Learning


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Closing the gap requires a talent pipeline solution where businesses are partners

Regardless of the technology advancements, it remains true that the most important resource a business, community and nation needs is talent. Talent drives the innovation, production and advancement that is essential to a high quality life. New solutions are needed.

Closing the gap for businesses

There are two gaps that are limiting the necessary development and alignment of the talent needed now and for the future:

  • The skills gap—too many people lack the skills or credentials necessary to compete for 21st century jobs.
  • The people gap—too many businesses can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them.

Closing both gaps is imperative to increasing competitiveness between businesses.

Growing businesses through WBL

The educational models for the past 40 years have operated with Business as an advisor. In this role, they could only inform learning experiences, with engagement being at the end of the student’s educational journey—hiring based on the level of educational attainment.

Faced with an emerging talent gap, this passive Buyers strategy is no longer effective. Industries and businesses need to shift their focus to engage in the educational system as a solution partner. The time is now to invest in the supply side of this equation—WBL provides the most effective way to Close the Gap.

Rebuilding struggling communities

The skills gap and lagging student success rates are even more profound in communities that face poverty, systemic inequity and lower performing schools. WBL programs make a positive impact in three ways:

  1. More student engagement
  2. Introduction to the world of work
  3. Access to new opportunities
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Closing the gap for communities

There are many educational gaps in student outcomes such as graduation rate, academic achievement and postsecondary enrollment. These gaps present real societal challenges for these communities. By supporting quality WBL with educational partners, communities can augment their programming to increase the impact in a powerful way.

Introducing youth to the world of work

Besides directly impacting students financial success through paid WBL experiences, there’s a powerful need to give them access to meaningful work experiences. Engaging in work is a transformational experience for young people. They build confidence when exposed to the realities of employment and gain access to mentors, role models and new environments.

Building communities by providing success opportunities to all

The true value of quality WBL is its ability to provide a level playing field for success. Through structured WBL offerings students have the chance to engage with businesses that were likely unavailable to them before. Without this network for helping students find and train for a career, their opportunities for securing employment is extremely limited. With exposure being the essential driver to changing the lens they see through, it’s critical to widen that lens. That way, students all have a chance to be productive members of society and grow their communities.

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Redefining student success

GPS Education Partners works to refine student success by increasing the relevance of learning and providing access to new learning models to foster purpose in education. See where our students are learning the skills needed for success all over Wisconsin.

The many ways students benefit from WBL

Students engaged in quality WBL programs expose themselves to new learning opportunities. Traditional educational models focus on test prep, bulk programming and time-bound assessment models. Success is thereby restricted to students with specific learning aptitudes. It doesn’t account for the pace of learning, but rather forces all to conform to systemic knowledge and skill definitions. What’s more, this is exacerbated by decades of focus on academic knowledge assessments as the supposed guarantor of post-secondary success. In short, more effective educational models are needed.

Hear from Our Students

Listen to these GPS Ed student stories to hear how work-based learning transformed their lives.


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Equity and access for all youth

Forty years ago, a teenager leaving high school—with or without a diploma—could easily find a job in a local factory. Twenty years ago, even as manufacturing jobs moved offshore, young people could still gain a foothold in the entry-level workforce through neighborhood stores and restaurants. Amid the housing boom of the past decade, youth with some training could find a career track in construction. But today—with millions of jobs lost and experienced workers scrambling for every available position— America’s youth stands last in line for jobs.

Providing purposeful education

Traditional educational models have no clear purpose or “trial and error” career exploration experiences for students. Many students then complete high school with no clear purpose, often seeking to find this purpose by enrolling in a 4-year college. Only to find that they have merely postponed their future without coming any closer to understanding their purpose. WBL provides students with the opportunity to “Try before they Buy” and brings focus to the relevance of their educational programming. This way they can find a purpose, plan and confidence to compete.

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Franklin Education Center (Allis Roller) junior building catapult.

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