Work-based learning activities (WLAs) are activities offered by individual professionals or businesses to provide students real workplace experiences, and a chance to engage seriously with the economic, social and educational demands of the modern workforce. WLAs not only provide students career exposure and on-the-job learning, but also an opportunity to develop key employment skills, such as communication and teamwork. Companies that offer WLAs raise local awareness of their business and industry, provide guidance to students on how to be successful in their field, and have an opportunity to identify prospective future employees.
Whether short- or long-term, WLAs can be tailored to fit every type and size of business; examples of WLAs include job shadowing, mock interviews, internships, and apprenticeships.
The return on investment (ROI) of WLAs for companies is also very encouraging. For example, the ROI for an electrician apprenticeship in Michigan is $7.24 for every $1 spent by an employer, a more than 600% gain. WLAs can also provide a clear benefit for participating companies, even when the financial incentive is less clear. The ROI of activities such as guest speaking and job shadows may be more difficult to quantify, but studies show early exposure to careers can help students identify career-required classes, persist through graduation, and enter the workforce as better-qualified future employees. If companies put in the time to work with students today, they will reap the talent benefits tomorrow.
MI Bright Future makes it easy for employers to connect with students and inform educators of the many great opportunities they offer. By providing an easy-to-use platform to showcase their WLAs and facilitate the connections needed to make them happen, MI Bright Future removes the traditional barriers that made connecting with students difficult. To ensure activities requested through the system are of the highest quality and seriousness, all inquiries are also first vetted by an educator before being sent to your company. MI Bright Future also makes it easy for companies to connect and build strong partnerships with local schools to ensure long-lasting collaboration.
WLAs are an emerging, innovative way to reach students before they enter the workforce, and they provide a unique way for employers to connect with students as they make critical decisions about their future. Carrie Bonofiglio, MI Bright Future Business Partnership , stated that the “benefits for employers [of WLAs] are to see their future talent… [and] see if that student is going to work out, kind of like test driving.” To learn more about the ROI of WLAs, in particular for apprenticeships, please visit the Workforce Intelligence Network ROI Calculator.
Want to learn more about MI Bright Future and share your talent development efforts with other interested companies? We invite you to join our employer focused Twitter Chat on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 at 9:00am using the hashtag #MIBrightChat to highlight successes and address challenges in building youth career readiness in Michigan!
Why should you attend?
- Discuss your workforce talent needs and learn how to increase retention of local talent
- Expand your engagement with Michigan students and educators by offering learning opportunities aligned to support your industry
- Network with businesses statewide who are utilizing MI Bright Future
 Boud, David, and Nicky Solomon. Work-based Learning a New Higher Education? Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education, 2003.