Empowering One Midwest Community with a Sustainable Work-based Learning Ecosystem

Congratulations to Southern Indiana Education Center!

We are excited to announce that Southern Indiana Education Center (SIEC) has been chosen for the Regional Work-based Learning (WBL) Ecosystem Collaborative, where we will co-design and implement Project Protégé! Our selection process involved extensive outreach and collaboration with education leaders and partners across five states, including targeted efforts in Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky.

In partnership with SIEC, GPS Ed will develop a comprehensive work-based learning ecosystem, beginning with a Healthcare Pathway for the first two years and expanding into additional pathways in the future.

About the Opportunity

With the generous support of American Student Assistance (ASA) and in collaboration with America Succeeds, GPS Education Partners is initiating a Regional Work-based Learning (WBL) Ecosystem Collaborative in specific Midwest states (Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky). This substantial initiative is made possible by funding received by GPS Ed through a 3-year commitment, that will be allocated to this project up to $300,000 annually. These funds will enable GPS Education Partners to offer the selected community the necessary resources, technical assistance, and support for the design, build, and implementation of a regional work-based learning ecosystem.

Interested in learning more or have questions about work-based learning ecosystems?
Schedule a 30-minute call with me, Amanda Daniels, by clicking here or email us at WBLapplication@gpsed.org.

Download our NEW Case Study

In this case study, you will learn how one community in Hennepin County, MN worked with GPS Ed to advance CTE and provide career pathways through work-based learning for their students.

Download Now

Applications are now CLOSED.

Thank you to everyone who applied. We are so excited by the overwhelming interest and will be choosing a community applicant soon.

What to expect if your community is selected.

You’ll work in partnership with GPS Ed to implement a work-based learning ecosystem in your community that includes:

Comprehensive Consulting | Develop career pathways and a customized work-based learning framework, supported by DEI strategies and thorough needs assessments.

Strategic Convening | Build strong partnerships, bolstered by strategic marketing and funding plans, to foster a thriving educational network.

Dedicated WBL Execution | Benefit from end-to-end program support including activity planning, data management, and logistics coordination for seamless WBL integration.

Proactive Project Management | Leverage our expertise in managing project logistics, data-driven continuous improvement, and strategic resource allocation for growth and sustainability.

Does this Apply to Me?

If you can identify with one or more of these statements, then YOU should apply.

  • If the schools in your region are competing for business partners instead of collaborating…
  • If work-based learning is only being offered to students at some of the schools in your region…
  • If your community is struggling to scale or sustain meaningful work-based learning…
  • If you see students in your region without clear post-high school plans…
  • If you are looking to improve equity, access, scale, and sustainability for your community (K-12 districts, local colleges, businesses/industries)

Project Scope

The chosen regional partner will engage in a three-year agreement with GPS Education Partners’ WBL Intermediary Services. During this collaboration, GPS Education Partners will tailor a regional work-based learning ecosystem and utilize national partnership resources from ASA and America Succeeds. This joint effort aims to co-design and implement a customized regional program, powered by the expertise of GPS Ed.

Organization Profiles to Apply

The lead organization applying must demonstrate a dedicated commitment to taking on a collaborative leadership role in bringing schools and stakeholders together for participation. (e.g. Regional Office of Education, Community/Technical College, Intermediate School District, etc.)

Geographical Locations for Project

This project is targeting select Midwest States. We are seeking regional organizations that exhibit alignment with multiple local school districts and colleges, such as those within a county, community college service area, an Intermediate School District (ISD) or Regional School grouping.

Project Timeline

The discovery, design, and strategy phase is scheduled to commence in spring 2024, followed by program execution and technical support spanning the school years 2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27.

Design Goals

While regional needs call for customized design, GPS Education Partners approaches all communities with the same goals:

  1. The Regional WBL Model/Collaborative is widely seen as a trusted work-based learning partner for employers, schools, and the community, supporting all parties to act through a lens of equity and access for all students.
  2. Employers have multiple and connected opportunities to interact with students along the career experience ladder, are adopting the career exploration and experience models as part of their long-term talent development strategy, and know that work-based learning and student understanding of careers and industries require their participation.
  3. All students have multiple and connected opportunities for experiencing and exploring career-related activities and understand the importance of planning for life after high school.
  4. Students feel better prepared to make post-secondary choices.
  5. Schools have built the capacity to execute on the promise of work-based learning for all students, with a focus on equity and access.

Project Elements/Criteria for Consideration

  1. Financial Support: The applicant and regional collaborative will be required to work with GPS Education Partners to identify and secure funding to sustain the Regional WBL Ecosystem.
  2. Strength of Leadership in Primary Applicant: A regional convenor affiliated with school districts (Regional Office of Education, Intermediate School District, or Community College)
  3. Clearly Defined Engagement Boundary: Identified regional boundary for partner engagement
  4. Committed Education Partners: At least 2 school districts showing investment willingness, 1 higher education partner demonstrating innovation
  5. Engaged Employer Partners: Identification of 3-5 major employers (including school district and public sector if applicable)

Improving Opportunity for All

GPS Ed is assisting communities by constructing a collaborative impact-oriented regional model for work-based learning that addresses the requirements of students, employers, and schools.

Outlining GPS Ed’s Technical Assistance and Support

A Process-Driven Partnership

Building on best practices and work that has grown in Wisconsin over the past 20 years, GPS Education Partners has developed an iterative model for providing technical support to build a regional WBL ecosystem. Across each phase (as detailed in the figure below), GPS Ed Partners directs, leads, and supports, using a Human Centered Design approach providing the intermediary support that communities often need in order to develop, deliver, and scale a WBL solution that works for students, schools, and employers.

GPS Ed’s Service Delivery Model for Schools & Community Partners

Because outcomes and return on investment matters, every new client solution begins with DISCOVERY. This is where we make sure there is a solid understanding of your short and long term goals, project scope and budget. During this phase, we will build the framework for your unique solution, which will have lasting and measurable impact on its success.

Service Delivery Model


Customized solutions DESIGNed to accelerate impact for scale

  • Defines goals around high-quality practices in work-based learning
  • Work with partners to identify your resources and needs
  • Collaboratively design a work-based learning solution that can be launched quickly


Using GPS Ed expertise to BUILD and pilot WBL solutions

  • Gather resources
  • Train stakeholders
  • Help to launch a pilot program


Full suite of GPS Ed tools and resources to EXECUTE your scalable solution

  • Identify ways from the pilot program to adapt and adjust to any encountered hurdles
  • Help to establish and run a sustainable model, year after year


Clear and meaningful data was provided to help EVALUATE for continuous improvement

  • Identify ways to move closer to high-quality practices in work-based learning program
  • Guide scaling efforts to serve more students with more opportunities

In working closely with community partners to build a regional WBL ecosystem, GPS Ed Partners builds out solutions for employers, education partners, and young people, anchored in the development and/or support of a governance model that is focused on building, scaling, and sustainability.

GPS Ed Partners builds its technical assistance strategy on the Career Experience Journey that focuses on impacts for schools, students, and employers at each stage.

More About GPS Education Partners

GPS Education Partners is a work-based learning (WBL) intermediary that has over two decades of experience designing, building, implementing, and executing innovative Work-based Learning (WBL) programs. We focus on building out solutions at the school level, with individual business partners, and most recently, at the community level, building a broad ecosystem of educators, businesses, and community leaders who believe in the transformation of education and training to support young people and employers.
Since 2000, GPS Education Partners has worked with community partners in the Midwest to grow a regional model for building a WBL ecosystem. Organized regionally, this model is driven by school districts and in clear partnership with local postsecondary and other community partners, with a focus on providing schools and students with access to high-quality WBL programming, creating career pathways from high school to postsecondary to career that is accessible to all students and supports community needs, and align youth talent to meet local needs.

With over two decades of experience, GPS Education Partners serves as a work-based learning (WBL) intermediary, specializing in the design, construction, implementation, and execution of innovative Work-Based Learning (WBL) programs. Our primary focus extends from school-level solutions and individual business partnerships to our current expansion focused at the community level. Here, we are actively building comprehensive ecosystems that bring together educators, businesses, and community leaders who share a common belief in transforming education and training to better support young individuals and meet the needs of employers.

Since 2018, GPS Education Partners has been collaborating with community partners in the Midwest to develop robust regional WBL ecosystems. These regional models are organized in collaboration with school districts and clear partnerships with local post-secondary institutions and other community stakeholders. Our emphasis is on providing schools and students access to high-quality WBL programming, creating seamless career pathways from high school to postsecondary education and into careers that are accessible to all students, and aligning youth talent to address local needs.

To learn more about GPS Education Partners, visit www.gpsed.org/cs.

Hennepin West Education Consortium Work-based Learning & Youth Apprenticeship Program  | Student gains IT experience.

DuPage County Work-based Learning Consortium | Graduates enter the workforce

Building a Brighter Future Through Work-Based Learning

Check out the resources below to learn how other communities are implementing work-based learning solutions powered by GPS Ed.

More about American Student Assistance (ASA)

American Student Assistance® (ASA) is a national nonprofit changing the way kids learn about careers and navigate a path to postsecondary education and career success. ASA believes all students should have equitable access to career-readiness learning, starting in middle school, so they will be equipped to make informed, confident decisions about their futures. ASA fulfills its mission by providing free digital-first experiences, including Futurescape® Next Voice™, and EvolveMe™, directly to millions of students, and through impact investing and philanthropic support for educators, intermediaries, and others.

More about America Succeeds (AS)

America Succeeds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to engaging business leaders in modernizing education systems to drive equity and opportunity. America Succeeds was founded in 2014 with a vision of building public education systems to prepare every student to succeed in the competitive global economy and contribute to their local community. For us, that means ensuring business leaders are engaged as education champions. We believe that businesses have the obligation, opportunity, and capacity to foster greater student achievement, build an educated workforce pipeline, and protect our future economic vitality.