We established the Office of Work-Based Learning at Lincoln Land Community College in July 2020. Work-based learning can take many flavors, from a job-shadowing experience that allows our students to explore a specific career, to internships which are generally carried out towards the end of a student’s training and may or may not lead to a position within this company. At the very least, any form of work-based learning is a great way for our students to gain real-world experience and possibly college credit.
Another type of workplace learning is what we call a structured learning program. For this type of program, my role is to be a sort of matchmaker. I contact businesses in the area of our district that have vacancies suitable for our students. I work with these companies to develop a personalized and structured learning program to solve their staffing needs. I then work with the great resources we have on campus, such as our academic departments, career services, and success coaches, to find students interested in these positions. Interested students work with our career coaches to develop their CV based on the job description and refine their interview skills if necessary. The student is interviewing for the position within the company. If successful, they are offered the position and placed in a structured apprenticeship program while they complete their studies.
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A structured apprenticeship program provides the right mix of education, mentorship and on-the-job training. Working with each company to define on-the-job training and mentorship allows the student to be comfortably integrated into the position. We like to engage students in a structured learning program before they graduate. This helps them gain “real world experience” as they learn about the professional working world. Once they graduate, they already have a job they feel comfortable in, having been guided through their on-the-job training.
A collaboration with Ace Sign Co. through the hiring of Cole Thoron resulted in our first structured learning program. Ace Sign Co. was initially interested in setting up an IT internship. During our conversation, I discovered their need to fill an entry-level IT position and worked with them to develop a structured learning program to fill this position.
Through this process, we realized that this template could easily be customized for other businesses and industries.
Horace Mann Educators Corporation was an early supporter of our program. Jason Weller, who was looking for a career change, got the Google IT Support Certificate from LLCC. He was placed in a structured apprenticeship program with Horace Mann for an entry-level IT support analyst position.
I currently have computer programs developed with other employers in the district. We continue to seek LLCC students who are interested in these positions.
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Creating structured learning programs allows us to fill a much-needed position in area businesses while creating an environment that allows our students to be comfortably integrated into their jobs.
Let’s keep our students local and loyal by placing them in a work-based learning program!
I welcome the opportunity to work with your company to develop a work-based learning opportunity to solve your staffing needs.
Brenda Elliott is the Director of Work-Based Learning at Lincoln Land Community College. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 217-786-2326.