Assessing Whether Work-Based Courses Are Right for Your College
Community and technical colleges provide workers in various industries, including manufacturing, with education and skills that pay off in the workplace. Recognizing the need for new education models, more of these colleges are partnering with employers to change the way workers are trained and advance in their careers. Administrators and faculty members considering developing work-based courses should begin by answering two questions:
1) Do work-based courses fill a gap in the college’s degree offerings? Look at whether and how work-based courses can support students and companies in a way that internships, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or other types of work-based learning have not. In your credit offerings that accrue to a certificate or degree, where would potential work-based courses fit?
2) Is the college prepared to deliver work-based courses effectively? Answering this requires some introspection. A college administrator or technical faculty spearheading a program should ask, “Is my college ready to implement such a program?” Some qualities of successful colleges include flexibility, support from leadership for innovation, and a choice of funding sources. Work-based courses are also more likely to succeed if colleges already have an understanding of the regional manufacturing economy and trusted, collaborative relationships with some local employers.
Questions to Ask before Watching the Video
- Describe the key challenges facing community and technical colleges today with respect to helping students gain the skills and experience that are relevant to the workplace. How do these particularly relate to your institution?
- How are these challenges similar to or different from the challenges employers face with respect to workforce training? What are the pain points employers are trying to avoid?
- Describe current successful partnerships between industry employers and your college. What does each partner have to contribute? How have these relationships benefited the students? The college? The employer?
Questions to Ask after Watching the Video
- Why is it helpful to have existing relationships with industry partners when implementing work-based courses?
- What specific needs could your college help an employer meet? What specific needs could an employer help your college meet?
- How would you assess your college’s readiness to implement work-based courses? What is already in place? What challenges remain?