Expanding and Improving Work-Based Learning in Community Colleges

Research Report

Expanding and Improving Work-Based Learning in Community Colleges

Better Data and Measurement to Realize Goals for Students and Employers

Abstract

Work-based learning (WBL) as an important strategy for helping students prepare for and access good jobs. Across the country and at all levels of government, efforts are underway to expand and diversify WBL. Because they enroll diverse student bodies and providing career-focused education and training, community colleges are poised to play a role in these efforts. This brief explores the current state of knowledge about WBL in community college contexts and how it is measured. We find that 1) WBL models and definitions vary across community colleges; 2) the federal government, states and community colleges need to align systems of measurement to assess the effectiveness of WBL expansion efforts; and 3) an institutional commitment to WBL is vital to successful implementation and measurement. We recommend increased funding and common definitions of WBL at both state and federal levels and the integration of WBL elements into existing data platforms. We further recommend that community colleges incorporate WBL elements into their own data systems, and commit institutionally to WBL.

Cross-Center Initiative

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