Students may take advantage of new work-based learning experiences offered by nearly 200 employers
Connecting classroom learning to careers
CONCORD, NH — The educational and business communities in New Hampshire are joining forces to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students – an initiative aimed to provide students with authentic work experiences and help them prepare for bright futures.
Students often enter postsecondary education without the benefits of working part-time as a teenager. These short-term employment opportunities, however, provide youth with increased independence, life exploration skills and countless, valuable lessons on how to work with adults and problem solve.
The New Hampshire Department of Education’s new Work As Learning program is helping students develop a sense of responsibility, money management and other skills that will create immediate and long-term benefits.
“Our Work As Learning program is providing students with unique opportunities to gain transferable life skills, and it is offering future employers the chance to hire candidates that are job ready,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. “Work-based learning is a powerful educational strategy, and it is an integral component of career development for New Hampshire’s youth by providing them with a chance to acquire work skills and build life skills that have endless advantages.”
Rochester Child Care Center was one of the first businesses to register for Work As Learning. The business welcomed Kylie Mohan, a local student, into their facility to experience firsthand its early learning and child care programs, and help her acquire skills such as time management, communication and how to be a team player.
“Participating in the Work As Learning program has been a win-win for both Rochester Child Care Center and our student employee. Allowing teens the opportunity to receive a hands-on learning experience is a fantastic way for them to explore career options, and it helps provide us with an extra set of hands at a time when recruiting new workers can be difficult,” said Cora-Lynn Hoppe, executive director of Rochester Child Care Center.
Work As Learning is a recently launched initiative that provides secondary students with paid, work-based learning opportunities by matching learner wages, and students can enroll now for the upcoming school year.
Work As Learning will support up to 1,000 secondary students in earning academic credit while procuring valuable work experience before they graduate from high school. To incent these opportunities, NHED will reimburse New Hampshire-certified employers for 50 percent of learner wages paid up to $15 an hour – leveraging up to $2.5 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to improve the workforce pipeline in New Hampshire.
“Work-based learning is a great way for students throughout the state to explore career opportunities and develop authentic employability skills at a worksite. These types of programs are successful at connecting classroom learning to careers, which is beneficial for both students and employers,” said Mike Skelton, president and CEO of the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire.
NHED is working with employers, including a number of BIA members, to connect secondary students with local, subsidized paid internships. Through the Work As Learning program, students are hired at a wage of $15 per hour or more, and employers are reimbursed up to $7.50 per hour, up to 480 hours, through a wage match by NHED.
To administer the program, NHED has partnered with Awato, LLC, which also supports the State’s career assessment tool. Since its inception, the work-based learning database now includes 182 employers currently offering some type of career exploration experience or work-based learning experience.
Employers interested in signing up for Work As Learning may visit this website. Anyone with questions about the program, including students who would like to participate, should reach out to Nicole Levesque at Nicole.M.Levesque@doe.nh.gov.