Work-based Learning Incubator Convening

Logo for WBL Incubator Convening


Thank you for joining us for this virtual convening to support the development of high-quality work-based learning experiences in K-12 environments. Slides and recordings from all sessions can be viewed below. Attendees can also access the Whova event page through Dec. 5, 2021 to view community message boards, connect with other participants, and more. 

This convening was the culminating experience of the 2020-2021 Work-based Learning Incubator, and was hosted by the Colorado Department of Education Office of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness and the Colorado Workforce Development Council. Educators who attended this convening can receive continuing education units. To request a CEU/PD certificate, please complete this form. 

Event Details

WHEN: June 3-4, 2021 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

WHY: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the future of work and digital advancements, and work-based learning adoption is increasing across the state as a strategy to innovate and support these new learning environments. The convening enabled participants to learn more about building high-quality work-based learning experiences, scale promising practices, and hear about the programs and initiatives taking place in school districts across Colorado. 

WHO: K-12 professionals who work with students in the career-connected and work-based learning space; Workforce professionals, community partners, employers, and other individuals who support or are interested in learning more about work-based learning in K-12 environments. 

Questions? Please contact Kelly Mitchell at kelly.mitchell@state.co.us.

Session Recordings and Materials

Please use the tabs below to view recordings and slides from event sessions. Throughout the two days of the convening, participants were engaged through 25+ sessions from schools, businesses, and other organizations and professionals in the K-12 work-based learning space. Sessions included information about: Engaging businesses in work-based learning programs; student experiences with work-based learning; increasing equity in programs; building programs to increase postsecondary and workforce readiness; connections to higher education; and adapting work-based learning opportunities for digital environments.

Day 1 - June 3
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Learning from Student Voice
Speakers: Brittany Andrada, Algassimou Diallo, Nicholas Huber, Sarah Ksouri, Naarai Navarro

Student voice is critical for developing meaningful work-based learning opportunities. This keynote session will feature four students from across Colorado who are engaged in work-based learning programs and the development of these experiences. Join to hear about their journeys and the advice they have for educators who are developing work-based learning opportunities. Come ready with questions as this session will also feature a Q&A panel with the student speakers.

11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. 

Grow Your Own Through Apprenticeship
Speakers: Meaghan Sullivan, Mike Wadleigh, Sarah Grobbel

Cherry Creek Schools has pioneered a new work-based learning path to careers in education with a Future Educator apprenticeship. CareerWise is distilling the lessons from Cherry Creek’s first few years to create a framework that can be applied to districts across the state. Attendees will learn about the structure of the model as well as early challenges and how to overcome them.

Innovative Practice and Approaches to Funding
Speaker: Paula Gumina

Accelerating innovation as a path to economic recovery requires new approaches to partnership and funding. This presentation will share resources, spotlight practices, test out approaches, and spark conversation to consider how funds can be best leveraged to make the greatest impacts.

Powering up for the Journey: ICAP and My Colorado Journey
Speakers: Freddy Burciaga, Joanna Peters

This presentation will set a foundation for career exploration and why it matters, and highlight activities and resources to intentionally build out the next steps, including work-based learning, credentialing, postsecondary education, resumes, applications, and more. Join us as we explore My Colorado Journey, SparkPath Challenge, Naviance, and YouScience.

HB 20-1002: Awarding College Credit for Work Based Learning – A Progress Report
Speakers: Chris Rasmussen, Kim Poast, Bitsy Cohn

Attendees will learn how the Department of Higher Education is working with stakeholders to implement 2020 legislation to award college credit for work-based learning. The legislation requires the Department to create a plan to identify college-equivalent learning from key industry credentials and technical college certificates, and create transfer pathways into college courses and degrees. Attendees will learn about the draft plan created by stakeholders from education and industry and recommendations to align work-based learning with GT Pathways (general education) courses and statewide degree transfer agreements. 

12:10 - 12:40 p.m.

Gladiator Workout with Amir Kendrick

Join Amir Kendrick for a gladiator workout during the lunch break. No equipment needed!

12:40 - 1:40 p.m.

Design Slam: Demonstrating Competencies through Industry-Led Programming
Speakers: Miranda Ziegler, Paul Weinrauch

Design Slam, adapted from American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), is a fun, exciting, creative, problem-solving competition where students learn to demonstrate essential skills as both participants and audience. This panel will include individuals who have participated in and lead this work in the Front Range.

Bringing College, Career, and Military Readiness Together
Speaker: Johnny Vahalik

Because of traditional systems, funding requirements, and organizational structures, we tend to naturally view College Readiness, Career Readiness and Military Readiness as three different initiatives or targets. If we really look at the expectations of colleges, employers and the military, is there really a big difference in expectations and needs?

Storytelling and Career Preparation: Writing New Chapters for the Future of Work
Speakers: Janae Hunderman, Karoline Jarr

Empowering students to tell their career stories allows them to explore their emerging professional identity and provides access to their voice in a culturally responsive way. Participants will leave the session with research-based knowledge and next-day strategies for helping students to develop and tell their career stories.

Work Based Learning: Colorado's High-Quality CTE Metric for Perkins V
Speaker: Sarah Heath

In this session, attendees can expect to learn why and how Work Based Learning was selected at the "High Quality CTE" metric for Colorado. Attendees will explore how this CTE specific requirement aligns to other initiatives and supports across state agencies in Colorado.

1:50 - 2:50 p.m.

A Unique Collaboration: Two Rural Districts Collaborating around WBL Initiatives
Speakers: Ali Williams, Frank Reeves

The power of collaborating with another school district in your area can have huge impacts on your community as a whole, especially during times of crisis. The school districts are not competitors of each other (well maybe on the court) but partners in driving economic vitality and supporting students in finding their passions, engaging with their community, and developing new skills and competencies.

Increasing Equity and Access in PWR Programs
Speakers: Andrew Tucker, Kelly Mitchell, Michelle Romero, Robin Russel, Marina Kokotovic, Amy Miglinas

Join the Colorado Department of Education's Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Unit to learn more about the programs we support and increasing equity and access to those programs.

Making the Case for Work-Based Learning: How to Convince Business Leaders to Join In
Speaker: Zach Hochstadt

Over the past 3 years Mission Minded has worked with numerous organizations around the country focused on Work-Based Learning. We'll share the best practices of what we've learned from our experiences with organizations in New York, D.C., Chicago, Washington State, and Colorado. Attendees will gain hands-on experience developing their own messages and receive a copy of our guide to explaining the value of intermediaries.

3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Live Tours of Local Businesses
Speakers: Joshua Gibbs, Elinor Brown, Rebecca Fulenwider

Virtual live tours are a great way to start connections with students and local businesses. This session will include a "How To Guide" and explanation of the processes that Fort Morgan Workforce Center, Morgan Community College, and Centennial BOCES has learned in the last three years so other organizations and school districts can utilize these tools to increase their WBL opportunities for students. 

ACE and WBL Inside and Outside the Classroom: How One Teacher Figured out WBL Made Sense for Her School, Class, and Herself
Speaker: Andrea Peterschick

Annie Peterschick will be presenting on how she implements WBL in her Career and Technical Student Organization before and during a pandemic. She will also be talking about how she implements basic WBL in her ACE classes. There will be ample time for Q&A.

How to Engage Business: The Planning Tools You Need to Build Strategic Partnership
Speakers: Madison Knapp, Shannon Nicholas

Create a plan with our tools and templates for supporting your work-based learning efforts. What is the most effective messaging and way to engage local employers, civic and business leaders in your WBL programs. We'll share resources, plans, and give you time to start building your outreach kit in this interactive workshop.

Addressing Student Economic and Educational Disparities through WBL
Speakers: Monica Schultz, Ericka Porter

This presentation will highlight how work-based learning programs can help address economic and educational disparities. Participants will deepen their understanding of work readiness skills and how to embed them within CTE courses and WBL programming; explore the benefits of innovative virtual and/or in-person WBL experiences; and identify next steps for integrating WBL into their own classroom/district.

Day 2 - June 4
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Networking Around Problems of Practice

Opportunity for networking with other attendees and discussing shared challenges and solutions in building work-based learning programs.

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Moving from Intent to Impact: Equitable Work-based Learning
Speakers: Jamie Villarreal-Bassett, Robert Franklin, II

Our keynote speakers will lead us on a journey to expand our understanding of equity and move beyond intent to focus on the impact of our actions. Equity is not a word but a way of being. 

11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.

Industry Sponsored Projects and WBL
Speakers: Lottie Wilson, Chris Hill, Scott Troy

We will share our process for developing and implementing ISPs. We will have representation from teachers, industry partners and students. These projects were implemented in 2020-21 - even when we were remote - and engagement for these students was off the charts compared to others not involved in the ISPs.

Sector Partnerships Backing Youth Internships
Speakers: Sandra Jackam, Joyce Saffel

Learn about a regional collaboration among sector partnerships, education and workforce that provides meaningful work experiences for youth. Hear from these collaborators on how they got started and how they have maintained and grown the program. Take away ideas and resources on how to do this in your own community.

The Impacts of Integrating Work-Based Learning into Your School & Community
Speakers: Kirk Banghart, Jennifer Nesselhuf

Understand the evidence-base for work-based learning and the role of partners in building and sustaining a successful program. Evaluate the relevance of work-based learning to solve challenges in your district, school or community through exploring the opportunity with your colleagues. Analyze potential program impact benchmarks that would indicate your program is ready to scale. Provide examples of how to pivot work-based learning projects amid COVID.

The Student Perspective - Opening the Doors of Opportunity for Young People
Speaker: Erin Kerr

Through the Homegrown Talent Initiative, eight rural schools districts have stood up new work-based learning opportunities for high school students. These students would like to share their experiences in not only participating in career-connected learning but how they've helped their districts think bigger about the future for all kids in their community. These student leaders will share little and big ways school and community leaders can leverage student agency.

12:10 - 12:40 p.m.

Stretch at Your Desk Yoga with Betsie

Join us for a celebration yoga session that you can do from anywhere, including your desk! Take a break and let's enjoy some self care.

12:40 - 1:40 p.m.

Toolkits for Managing and Engaging Work-Based Learning Opportunities
Speakers: Sheri Bryant, Miranda Ziegler, Heather Mueller, Kate Harris

Timelines and planning for WBL events and classroom experiences. Utilization of a sustainable system for consistency with industry partners. Flexibility of work-based learning for synchronous and asynchronous learning. Recruiting strategies and tools to host authentic conversations with industry experts. Best practices and examples of a selection of resources piloted in core and CTE classrooms.

Collaboration is Key: Untapped Resources for Student and Team Success
Speakers: Brian Clough, Claire Charles, Stephanie Crookston

Participants in this workshop will leave with some new ideas on how to collaborate to provide meaningful work based learning opportunities with the ultimate goal being employment for customers in the Transitions Program through K-12 education. Project Search is a great example of how collaboration and intentional community partnerships are able to best support and provide all the tools necessary for student success as well as increase impact by demonstrating joint partnership activities, culture shifts, and influencing how employers recruit and retain employees.

Mesa County Youth Collaboration Initiative
Speakers: Bo Tobin, Darcy Weir, Kayley Vogel, Kirstin Maska

A look into how local organizations in Mesa County collaborate to provide work-based learning resources and opportunities for K-12 students.

Win-Win Work-Based Learning Partnerships in IT
Speakers: Michael Simpson, Courtney Haynes, Kathryn Harris

This session will explore how Colorado-based work-based learning programs can partner with local businesses to fill skill gaps and broaden team diversity. We will discuss and provide examples of how work-based learning programs offer easy, effective, and quick placements when companies need to quickly scale in high-growth, hot jobs, such as IT.

1:50 - 2:50 p.m.

WBL Pitch Competition
Speaker: Bryn Nelson

A group of workforce experts will be convened to listen to innovative work-based learning models proposed by a panel of community-based organizations in a rapid-fire competition-like format. The participating community-based nonprofits will have a short amount of time to present their game-changing ideas or program and the experts will provide feedback. Audience members will observe the competition and can expect to learn best practices within work-based learning as well as what creative strategies are emerging within their community. The competition will prioritize nonprofits that are focusing on equity and increasing access to underrepresented populations. 

2020: Foresight, Not Hindsight
Speaker: Josh Davies

2020 has given us insight on the coming changes, and we have a decade to work with. We need to be developing our job seekers for these changes to build a resilient and inclusive workforce with the skills need to be successful today and into the future. Using the lessons from last year, you will discover four strategies that you can start implementing immediately. Now is the opportunity for us to evolve our practices and ensure that we develop solutions that ensure everyone has an equal opportunity for success. 

A Human-Centered Approach to Designing for Digital Inclusion
Speaker: Paula Gumina

Hear from participants from the Strategy Design for Digital Skill Attainment Technical Assistance Module and their experience in designing strategies for addressing digital inequities in their communities. Panelists will share their experiences in designing and testing the strategies, as well as where they are today and the success and challenges of implementation.

Building Ships
Speakers: Sharon Usher, Jenny Herbaugh

Connecting students with industry professionals to solve real world problems. Virtually connecting students worldwide with like minded interests. Inviting industry, community, and businesses to help bridge the gap between learning and careers.

3:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Optimistic Closing
Speaker: Kelly Mitchell

Join us one last time to wrap up the 2021 Work-based Learning Incubator Convening. We will celebrate, debrief, and win raffle prizes! 


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