Work-Based Learning Activities

 

Advisory Boards


Advisory boards are designed to create a strong connection between career and technical programs in area schools and colleges and the workforce students will enter upon completion. Advisory board members help develop curriculum to mirror the most recent industry trends, discuss workforce needs, and often serve as the front line when students complete work-based learning activities.

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Assessment and Guidance

 

What role do assessments play in career development?


Assessments can help students make career decisions based on their own personal interests, abilities, and values. In order to identify career options that are a good "fit", it is important to complete assessments AND have help interpreting the results. The information received can be overwhelming.

Career assessments are the first step to learning about careers. With literally thousands of careers to choose from, assessments are designed to help narrow your list down to careers that match your interests, abilities, and values. There are many career assessments available. Your school may have you complete an assessment, and there are several on-line that you can complete at no cost.

Taking an assessment isn't enough!


After your students get their assessment back, make sure to help them understand the results. Point out to them the variety of jobs that exist in different pathways and that the job suggestions are intended to give them to a place to begin their explorations—not end it.

In order to identify career options that are a good “fit”, it is important to complete assessments AND have help interpreting the results. The information received can be overwhelming. Remember, career assessments aren’t going to provide the one and only career for you. They are designed to give you some direction and careers that seem to be a good match. Talk with your school counselor, teacher, a workforce professional, or a Talent Link staff member for help interpreting what your assessment results mean.

Where can I access career assessments?

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Career Expos  


Career Expo’s provide a great opportunity for students to learn about the wide range of career opportunities within a career sector. Many expos are hands-on, so students have an opportunity to see, touch, and do activities related to the careers. Career Expo's help students understand numerous careers in a career pathway.

Tips for Career Expos

    1. Be strategic about the career(s) you highlight. Based on the age of participants, what type of employees do you anticipate will be needed when those participants enter the workforce?
    2. After finding out about the expectations for vendors, format of the event, etc., tailor your display/activity.
    3. Work with Talent Link staff to ensure that your display/activity is age-appropriate.
    4. When possible, coordinate with other businesses to ensure that your display/activity is unique.
    5. Give-aways with your company name and logo serve as a reminder to students of the event and what they learned about your company and careers. In open house format events, they also entice students to stop and look at your display and ask questions.

When is an individual or class ready for a Career Expo?


A student who has done an assessment and found a pathway that they are interested in exploring is ready for an expo. 

Tips for Educators

    1. Target students most likely to benefit from deeper understanding of careers in the sector being represented at the expo.
    2. Lead up to the event by bringing in a career speaker from the sector being highlighted at the expo. 
    3. Help your students develop a list of questions to ask exhibitors.
    4. Following the event, have students report on what they saw, learned about, etc.
    5. Talk about next steps. If a student was interested in the radiology exhibit, what can they do to learn more about the career? Suggest research, a tour, job shadow, etc. Use the Career Cruising Network and work with your Talent Link staff representative to provide guidance.

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Classroom Presentations


Bring a representative from business/industry into your classroom to share specific knowledge and information, and to connect students with the working world.

When is a classroom speaker a good option?


A classroom speaker is a great option when you would like to bring the workplace into your classroom in order to share specific career information, connect a learning goal to a real-world application, or help students understand the importance of workplace skills.

Tips for Educators

    1. Be very specific about what you would like the speaker to cover.
    2. Provide detail about how to enter your building, and where the speaker will be presenting. Talk about the lay-out of your classroom. This may be helpful if the presenter is planning group work or interaction of some kind.
    3. Prepare your students for the speaker. Set clear expectations for behavior and follow through quickly if issues arise so that the speaker is not interrupted. Do not expect the speaker to keep discipline in your classroom.
    4. Respect the speaker’s time. Carefully schedule and confirm with your speaker.
    5. Plan ahead. The likelihood of getting a great speaker is much better if you allow time to prepare and schedule. Remember, speakers have full time jobs, and they must adjust their schedule to accommodate your request. Requests should be made a minimum of two weeks prior to the visit, and ideally a month in advance.
    6. Keep information about great speakers so you can re-connect in following years.
    7. Prepare students to ask good questions.
    8. Send a thank you to the presenter. Better yet, have students send thank you notes or sign a card. Not only does this make the speaker’s day, but it also helps students learn professional etiquette.

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Financial Resources for College and Training


If students don’t know there is help available for them to go to college or attend a training program after high school, they have little motivation to do much more than they need to in order to graduate. Most careers require some type of post-secondary certificate, classes, or degree.

When does an individual or class need to start learning about college and career training funds?


The sooner students understand that there are resource available to assist them in attaining college and training goals, the better.  Freshman year is not too soon to start talking about this.  By junior year, students should be moving forward with financial aid applications, researching scholarships and training funds, and learning the pros and cons of student loans.  

Where can educators/students go to learn more about some of the resources available?

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Industry Videos


Check out our library of professionals talking about their industries, careers and skills needed! Explore various local careers through their short 5-minute videos.

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Internships


Internships provide an excellent opportunity to connect with an individual who has trained for a career area your company employs. 

Tips for working with interns

    1. Make the intern’s experience as close as possible to your regular hiring process and orientation.
    2. Plan ahead for the intern’s work and projects.
    3. Provide a job description to outline what is expected.
    4. Have someone in the company mentor the intern.
    5. Include the intern in all aspects of your business. 
    6. Offer compensation if you are able and/or legally obligated to do so. The right intern brings value to your company, and paying them reinforces their value.
    7. Provide on-going feedback…both good and constructive. Set clear expectations and hold the intern accountable.

When is an individual ready for an internship?


Typically, internships occur after a student has received training in a specific career field.  The internship provides an opportunity for the student to apply the skills they have acquired in a real world setting.  

Tips for Educators to share with interns

    1. Companies expect interns to have skills and knowledge of the industry they are applying to. Internships are not just part time jobs—they are an opportunity to gain knowledge, connections, and experience in a specific career.
    2. Internships can be paid or unpaid. Determine in advance if your student is willing/able to take an unpaid internship if it provides them with the opportunity they are looking for.
    3. Treat an internship like a job. From the search, to the resume and interview, and day-to-day work, tell your student to keep a professional attitude and get the most out of the experience.
    4. If your student likes the internship and would like to work for the company, they should let their supervisor know. Even if the company is not currently hiring, the employer may be able to refer to other opportunities or hire at a later date.
    5. If the young person does not like the internship, remind them that there are a number of variables involved in the workplace—is it the work, the company, co-workers, or some other factor. Don’t quit! Good things can come from bad internship experiences.
    6. Keep track of what was learned. Remind your student to ask for a reference.
    7. Show gratitude. Be sure to have the youth thank the company for the opportunity to intern. Remind the student that future opportunities or connections can come from the internship—and a thank you note is an important part of that.

Tips for Students


Are you ready for an Internship? Often, internships are done in the summer while you are in training for your career, or near the end of your training. 

    1. Companies will expect you to have skills and knowledge of the industry you are applying to. Internships are not just part time jobs—they are an opportunity to gain knowledge, connections, and experience in a specific career.
    2. Internships can be paid or unpaid. Determine in advance if you are willing/able to take an unpaid internship if it provides you with the opportunity you are looking for.
    3. Treat an internship like a job. From the search, to the resume and interview, and day-to-day work, keep a professional attitude and get the most out of the experience.
    4. If you like the internship and would like to work for the company, let your supervisor know. Even if they do not have the ability to hire currently, the employer may be able to refer you to other opportunities or offer employment at a later date.
    5. If you do not like the internship, remember that there are a number of variables involved in the workplace—is it the work, the company, co-workers, or some other factor affecting your perception? Don’t quit! Good things can come from bad internship experiences.
    6. Keep track of what was learned. Internships look great on your resume!
    7. Show gratitude. Be sure to thank the company for the opportunity. Future opportunities or connections can come from the internship—and a thank you note is an important part of that.

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Job Shadows


Job shadows provide a real-world look into a career.  Participating in a job shadow provides an opportunity for individuals to see first-hand what your workplace looks like, what a day in the life of the chosen career may be like, and ask very specific questions related to your career.

Tips for being shadowed

    1. Ask if the student has done some basic research regarding the career being shadowed. If they haven’t, suggest that this is done prior to the job shadow. Check out the resource list on this web site for some good resources.
    2. Connect with teacher or student prior to the activity.
      1. Confirm the day/time you will be meeting with him/her.
      2. Provide instructions about where to go once they arrive at your company.
      3. Remind them of any safety requirements you may have (long pants, close-toed shoes, jewelry, etc.).
    3. Work to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Remember that the shadower is in an unfamiliar place, talking with people who are typically much older than they are. Keep things casual, but professional.
    4. Expect questions. Answer questions as completely and honestly as possible. Do not feel like you are obligated to answer questions you do not feel comfortable answering. For example, how much money do you make? Instead of telling them your salary, you can check online prior to event and be prepared to provide the typical range for your career.
    5. Introduce your shadower to others in your company, and provide a brief description of what they do for the organization.

When is an individual ready for a job shadow?


Job shadows are most appropriate and beneficial when a student has narrowed down their career search to a few good possibilities. Considerable pre-work should be done so that the youth has a general understanding of the occupation prior to the job shadow. This helps to ensure that time is well spent for both parties and makes it much easier for the student to gain the full benefit of the experience. Remember, both the career and the company play a role in how a job is portrayed. It may be helpful for youth to shadow the same career in different settings in order to determine their interest.

Tips for preparing your students

    1. Double-check to ensure that the student wants to do the job shadow, and is able to follow through. 
    2. Make sure students do their homework researching both the career and the employer. The more they research, the easier it will be to ask great questions, and the more benefit students will get from the experience.
    3. Have students dress for the workplace they are visiting.  They should treat the job shadow as an opportunity to learn AND as an opportunity to make a great impression on a prospective employer. 
    4. If a student is unable to keep the commitment, contact the company as far in advance as possible. Request to reschedule at the shadow provider’s convenience.
    5. Help the student prepare questions. Here are some examples of questions:
      1. What made you select your career?
      2. How long have you worked for this company? Where did you work previously?
      3. What could I expect to earn at an entry level in this type of job? (Do NOT ask what the job shadow provider earns.) You can also ask what the salary range would be for this position.
      4. Are you required to continue your training/education while working?
      5. Who do you interact with in the workplace? What are their roles with the company?
      6. What type of education/training did your job require?
      7. What benefits does your company provide?
      8. If I decide to pursue this career, what would you suggest I do to prepare?
      9. What technology do you use in your work? Has this changed since you started working here?
      10. What do you like most/least about your job?
      11. What classes should I take in high school/college to prepare for this career?
    6. Be sure the student thanks the individual shadowed at the end of your visit and follows up with a written thank you.

Tips for Students


Job shadows are most appropriate and beneficial when you have narrowed your career search to a few good possibilities. Be sure to do some research on-line prior to your job shadow. It is much easier to know what to ask when you have some background regarding the career you are shadowing. Remember, both the career and the company play a role in how a job is portrayed. It may be helpful to shadow the same career in different settings because every workplace is different.

    1. Do your homework! Spend some time researching both the career and the employer. The more you research, the easier it will be to ask great questions, and the more benefit you will get from the experience.
    2. Dress like they work there. Treat the job shadow as an opportunity to learn AND as an opportunity to make a great impression on a prospective employer.
    3. Show up! When you schedule a job shadow, you are asking an employee to take time from their day to focus on you. If they are unable to keep the commitment, contact the individual you are scheduled to shadow as far in advance as possible. Request to reschedule at the shadow provider’s convenience.
    4. Be prepared with questions. Bring them on paper or saved in your phone so nothing is forgotten. Here are some examples of questions:
      1. What made you select your career?
      2. How long have you worked for this company? Where did you work previously?
      3. What could I expect to earn at an entry level in this type of job? (Do NOT ask what the job shadow provider earns.) You can also ask what the salary range would be for this position.
      4. Are you required to continue your training/education while working?
      5. Who do you interact with in the workplace? What are their roles with the company?
      6. What type of education/training did your job require?
      7. What benefits does your company provide?
      8. If I decide to pursue this career, what would you suggest I do to prepare?
      9. What technology do you use in your work? Has this changed since you started working here?
      10. What do you like most/least about your job?
      11. What classes should I take in high school/college to prepare for this career?
    5. Be sure to send a thank you to the individual shadowed.

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Labor Market Information


Labor market information reveals two important pieces of information:

    1. Are there going to be jobs available in this career area?
    2. How much can individual expect to earn in this career area?

Selecting a career interest without knowing these things would be like buying a tire without knowing the size you need or looking at the cost. It just doesn’t work.

When is an individual ready to learn about Labor Market Information?


Career exploration should always include labor market information. The fact that colleges or training facilities provide a program does not ensure that there is employment in that field, or that the wages will be adequate.  Labor market information can help students determine what careers are going to be in demand, making them more marketable and giving them more options.  Students also need to weigh the costs of preparing for a career, and the benefits the education or training will provide.  

What resources are available for Labor Market Information?

    1. Bi-State Regional Commission Data/Economic and Employment Data for Iowa, IL, counties and QC region.
    2. Iowa Workforce Development
    3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
    4. Wages Earnings & Benefits | U.S. Department of Labor

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Mock Interviews


Mock interviews provide a safe space for students to learn the dynamics of an interview. It takes practice to become comfortable with these skills. The more closely a mock interview can resemble a real experience, the better.

When are mock interviews appropriate?


Being able to go through an interview requires a lot of skills that many students don’t use in day-to-day life…shaking hands, talking about his/her skills, experience, abilities, and asking an adult for a business card. By junior high school, some students are looking for that first volunteer or work experience.  Participating in mock interviews can help alleviate stress and help students make a good  impression.  

Tips for Educators

    1. Make mock interviews as real as possible. Interviewers should be unfamiliar. Interviews should take place in a work-like setting (office or conference room). Students should dress in interview-appropriate clothing.
    2. Prepare students for the interview by developing resumes, practicing hand-shakes, discussing potential questions and responses, and talking about appropriate dress.
    3. Provide "interviewers" with a rating sheet. Allow at least five minutes for the "interviewers" to de-brief about what went well and what the student can work on to prepare for the next interview.
    4. If students are old enough to work, focus on mock interviewers who work with companies that are actually hiring youth. What better way to “keep it real” than to have a student leave the mock interview with a job?

Tips for Students

    1. Before the mock interview, prepare your resume, practice shaking hands, and think about possible questions and how you will respond.
    2. Dress for the interview.

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Pre-Apprenticeship/Apprenticeship


What are pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships? When is an individual ready for a

pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeship? 


Pre-apprenticeship programs are designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in Registered Apprenticeship programs. These programs include documented partnership with at least one Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor.

Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality training option that enables employers to develop and prepare their future workforce.  Apprenticeship is a learn and earn model that provides individuals with an opportunity to obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and earn a portable, nationally-recognized credential.

When is a student prepared for pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship?


Pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships can be incorporated as early as high school. While some pre-apprenticeship coursework may be valuable to students who are still in the exploration phase, apprenticeships are intended for those who have made a committed decision to a specific career or trade.

What are the benefits of pre-apprenticeships/apprenticeships?


Pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship provide an opportunity for individuals to receive training and paid experience in a career. Upon completion, apprentices receive a nationally recognized journey card or certificate of completion.

Informationn for students considering pre-apprenticeships/apprenticeships


Typically, in order to participate in an apprenticeship, students must be hired or sponsored by a company that participates in registered apprenticeship. Apprentices can be new hires – or businesses can select current employees to join the apprenticeship program. 

I have a student interested, what now?


Review programs available at:

Please note that individuals are selected by the employer to become apprentices. Typically, this happens after 6 months to a year on the job. In some rare cases, employers will make a new hire with the intent of putting them through apprenticeship training.

In order to participate in the apprenticeships listed through area companies, you will need to apply for employment with the companies you are interested in.

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Project-based Learning


Project-based learning answers the question, “why do we need to learn this”? It can be used for objectives that tend to be difficult or boring for students, and can often result in better understanding and higher levels of interest. Project-based learning can be helpful at all levels of learning.

Tips for project-based learning providers

    1. Work closely with Talent Link and school staff to align your project to student learning.
    2. One great project shared with multiple schools throughout the year, makes a major impact!
    3. Focus on hands-on, real world applications. Wear your uniform, and bring pictures and items related to your project.
    4. Talk about careers in your organization related to the project.
      1. Who is involved in this type of work?
      2. What type of training/education do they have?
      3. What is a typical pathway for the careers you mention?
      4. What can students in high school do to prepare for these careers?

Tips for educators

    1. Take advantage of opportunities to participate in summer externships. They can often provide excellent insight regarding project-based learning opportunities!
    2. Plan ahead. Project-based learning lessons can result in many years of great learning, but it does take time to fully develop this type of activity. Plan to work closely with your business partner and Talent Link staff for several months in advance of the activity.
    3. Make sure students are prepared for the project-based lesson. Do they have the background knowledge needed to be successful? Do you have needed supplies on hand?
    4. Provide detail about how to enter your building, and where the business person will be working. Talk about the layout of your classroom as it may be helpful for the planning of the project.
    5. Prepare your students for the business person. Set clear expectations for behavior and follow through quickly if issues arise so that your business partner does not have to handle the problem.
    6. Respect your business partner's time by carefully scheduling and confirming what will be done, and when.
    7. Keep information about great projects so you re-visit them in following years.
    8. Send a thank you. Better yet, have students send thank you notes or sign a card. Not only does this make the business person’s day, but it also helps students learn professional etiquette.

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Resume Writing

Resumes are required for most job openings in today’s workforce. Knowing how to develop a resume that is well-formatted, focused on the type of work being sought, and free of grammar and spelling errors is key to getting a “first job”, and every job thereafter.

When is resume writing appropriate?


It is extremely difficult to develop a resume before students have gained some type of work/volunteer experience. The best way to prepare students for resume development is to encourage and support involvement in volunteer activities starting in junior high school, extracurricular activities, and some form of part time employment when they reach 16 years of age.

Tips for Educators

    1. Make it real. There is nothing more difficult or frustrating for students or teachers than trying to develop a resume without any experience.
    2. Resumes are a great way to apply writing and communications skills and make them “real world” relevant for students. Kick off your lesson with a human resources speaker who can tell students what happens to resumes with grammar and spelling mistakes, and discuss how automated systems play a role in selecting applicants using key words.

Tips for Students

    1. Remember, all experience counts when it comes to developing a resume. Often, your first resume may include volunteer work or odd jobs like babysitting or mowing grass.
    2. There should always be three sets of eyes on a resume before it goes to an employer. Spelling and grammar count! Many employers will stop reading if they notice errors. Be sure that you don’t use texting language on your resume.
    3. Be sure that your resume is easy to read.
    4. Always connect your resume with the job you are applying for. The most relevant experience should be at the top of the page.

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Sector Boards


Sector boards are business/industry-led boards that come together to address common challenges and opportunities within a specific sector. Many boards are currently focused on developing a strong workforce to meet the need for skilled workers. The boards are strong proof that much can be accomplished when businesses work together. Current boards include:  Advanced Manufacturing, Allied Health, Information Technology, and Transportation/Logistics. Join the synergy created by these business/industry-led boards. 

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Teacher/Counselor Externships


Teacher externships are an excellent opportunity for teachers in every subject matter to connect what happens in the classroom with real world applications. Teachers who complete externships:

  • Bring valuable skills to assist business/industry with project work, 
  • Make valuable connections between classroom learning and workplace functions, 
  • Connect with business/industry partners, 
  • Learn new technology, and 
  • Gain insight to share with students about valuable workplace skills. 

Tips for Externships

    1. Determine in advance what your goal for the externship will be.  Goals might include:
      1. Completing a designated project, 
      2. Connecting with a local educator/students, 
      3. Working to develop a project-based lesson to help educate students about your industry, and connect classroom learning with the workplace,
      4. Providing professional development for an educator in order to impact learning in the classroom, and/or
      5. Enlisting the help of an educator to develop training plans, training, lesson plans, etc.
    2. Decide on the length of the externship (number of days, and hours per day).
    3. Establish whether or not your company can provide pay/stipend for the externship, and if so, how much it will be.
    4. Develop a plan for the externship. What will the company provide in terms of training, information, and support? What are the expectations for the extern? What are the goals for the externship? Ideally, this should be done in partnership with the educator, and with support from Talent Link staff.
    5. Think about the message(s) you want to convey to students through your extern. What is your company about? What are your hiring needs now and in the future? What skills do you look for in applicants? What behaviors are acceptable in the workplace?

Tips for Educators

    1. Treat your externship as a job.
    2. Ask questions. Gather as much information as you can about the company, careers, and daily operations.
    3. Keep your course objectives in mind as you engage in daily operations. Look for the connections.
    4. Connect with employees. Gather contact information or business cards for future reference. Think about how employee personality, skills, and abilities might align with your current/future students.
    5. Externships should benefit both the company and the educator. Think about how you can impact the company you are working with. What skills or knowledge do you have that can leave a lasting impact?

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Workplace Tours


Workplace tours provide an opportunity for individuals and groups to get an inside look at the workplace, and specific careers. Tours can also provide a great opportunity for youth to see workplace skills in action and learn what will be expected from them in the world of work. Tours can be a dynamic chance for students to see workplace skills in action and understand expectations in the world of work.

Tips for Tour Guides

    1. Ask questions such as:
      1. What are the teacher’s expectations and goals for your tour?
      2. What is the background of those touring. Do they have specific areas of interest? Have they toured similar work-sites?
      3. Are any special needs in the group that you need to be aware of?
    2. Let the teacher know about any workplace requirements you may have such as clothing, close-toe shoes, eye protection, etc.
    3. Be as interactive as possible. Providing an opportunity for your group to experience your workplace, rather than just looking, can be extremely valuable.
    4. Encourage questions.

Tips for Educators

    1. Plan ahead. 
    2. Be very specific about what you would like the tour to include.
    3. Ask about any clothing or safety requirements.  Be sure to communicate any requirements with students and parents. 
    4. Prepare your students for the tour. Set clear expectations for behavior and follow through quickly if issues arise so that the tour guide is not interrupted. Understand that your group’s safety is most important to your tour guide, but he/she should be able to focus time and energy on providing a valuable experience for your group.
    5. Keep information about great tours so you can re-connect in following years.
    6. Prepare students to ask good questions.
      1. What products or services does your company provide?
      2. How many employees work here?
      3. What types of positions do you have?
      4. What education and experience are required?
      5. What do you look for in a potential employee?
      6. Does your company offer training, apprenticeship, or other professional development?
      7. How does your application process work?
      8. What is your company’s leave policy?
      9. Do you offer benefits?
      10. (If you identify an employee doing work that you are very interested in) Would it be possible for me to come back to do a job shadow?
      11. May I have a business card?
    7. Send a thank you to the tour guide. Better yet, have students send thank you notes or sign a card. Not only does this make the tour guide’s day, but it also helps students learn professional etiquette.

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Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteer work helps students learn about the culture of your business/organization and see how the work you do impacts customers, other workers, and the organization.  

Any opportunity to see and participate in the working world has benefits. Volunteers have an opportunity to learn about career opportunities that exist within an organization, learn about the culture of the organization, and see how the work they do impacts customers, other workers, and the organization.

Tips for organizations working with volunteers

    1. Treat volunteers like you treat employees.
      1. Interview and select the best volunteer candidates
      2. Include volunteers in orientation and training opportunities as possible.
      3. Provide a staff “go-to” person for each volunteer.
    2. Volunteers are being “paid” with experience. Be sure to provide a quality learning experience for each volunteer, not just busy work.
    3. Recognize volunteers for their work.
    4. Provide reference letters for volunteers.
    5. Allow volunteers to experience a variety of tasks, and departments in your organization.

When is an individual ready for a volunteer opportunity?


Volunteering can benefit anyone at any stage of career development. It is important to ensure that the volunteer has a good grasp of appropriate professional behavior that aligns with the company/organization they would like to volunteer for.

Tips for Educators to tell their students

    1. Volunteers are paid with experience. As they prepare for the working world, experience is more valuable than money.
    2. Advise students to treat volunteer opportunities like a job.  This includes having a positive and professional attitude, and following the company's dress code. 
    3. Encourage students to show up on time every day. If your student is going to miss a day, they should contact the work-site well in advance. 
    4. Encourage students to ask questions if they are unsure about what they should do or if they complete a task and need to know what to do next.
    5. Students should keep track of what was learned. Volunteer experiences are great resume builders. Encourage your student to ask for a reference.
    6. Be sure to have the student thank the company for the opportunity. Remind the student that future opportunities or connections can come from the internship, and a thank you note is an important part of that.

Tips for Students

    1. As a volunteer, you are not paid in money, but you are paid in experience. As you prepare for the working world, experience is more valuable than money.
    2. Treat the volunteer opportunity like a job.
    3. Have a professional attitude.
    4. Show up on time every day. If you are going to miss a day, contact the work-site well in advance. The work you are doing is important, and someone might need to do it in your absence.
    5. Follow the dress code for employees.
    6. Ask questions as needed.  If you complete a task, ask what you can do next.
    7. Keep track of what you learned. Volunteer experiences are great resume builders.
    8. Show gratitude. Be sure to thank the company for the opportunity. Future opportunities or connections can come from the work you do—and a thank you note is an important part of that.

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Youth Job Fairs


Intended for youth who are eligible for employment, Youth job fairs target youth who are at least 16 years old, or 14-15 year olds who have work permits.

Employment for 16-24 year olds had decreased significantly in recent years. Youth job fairs are designed to help guide youth to that initial work experience where they can learn important workplace skills. It also provides an opportunity for students who plan to go directly into the workforce after graduation to connect with employment opportunities. 

Tips for youth job fairs

    1. Prepare to provide youth with information about your company and the type of jobs you need to fill.
    2. Ask youth for a resume. Youth job fairs provide an opportunity for individuals to learn to market themselves to employers. Whether they have a resume or not, it is important that they understand this expectation. For youth without a resume, provide a quick application form for them to provide information.
    3. Be inviting. The youth job fair is likely the first time these individuals have been in a situation where they had to approach professionals and talk. Reach out to individuals as they approach your area. Offer candy, or small give-aways to encourage them to come to your table.
    4. Shake hands. Provide a business card. Encourage discussion about work experience, goals, volunteer work, classroom learning, etc. Youth job fairs provide a teachable moment.

Tips for Educators

    1. Encourage students to think of job fairs as an unofficial interview. They should:
      1. dress in interview-appropriate clothing,
      2. bring resumes to hand out,
      3. be prepared to shake hands, and
      4. be ready to talk with employers.
    2. Make sure your students know their schedules and when they will and won’t be available to work. Talk with them about being realistic.
    3. Have students practice a 20-30 second elevator speech telling the company about their skills.
    4. Have your student research company websites (if you know the participating companies).
    5. Tell your students not to
      1. talk negatively about former employers,
      2. drop off their resume but neglect to speak to representative,
      3. chew gum, or
      4. look at their phone while at the fair.

Tips for Students

    1. Think of job fairs as an unofficial interview.
      1. Dress in interview-appropriate clothing,
      2. bring resumes to hand out,
      3. be prepared to shake hands, and
      4. be ready to talk with employers.
    2. Be prepared to share your schedule and availability with employers.
    3. Practice a 20-30 second elevator speech tell employers about your skills.
    4. Research company websites (if you know the participating companies) for those they are interested in.
    5. Do NOT
      1. talk negatively about former employers,
      2. "drop off" your resume without taking time to speak to representative,
      3. chew gum, or
      4. Look at your phone while at the fair.

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