A Work-Based Learning Menu: A Promising Practice in Recruiting Employer Partners

DO-IT Factsheet #329
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/articles?329

DO-IT's AccessCAREERS [1] project staff developed an easy-to-use document called Preparing for Success with Work-Based Learning Experiences. This "work-based learning menu" was developed to be a useful, non-threatening tool in securing employer support for work-based learning offerings to students with disabilities. During initial meetings with potential partners, the menu is reviewed and left with employers visited by DO-IT [2] staff. By considering the menu options, employers are able to see a variety of ways they can support students with disabilities and then identify the DO-IT activities in which they are willing to be involved.

As reported by employers and observed by DO-IT staff members, one of the reasons this document is an effective employer recruiting tool is that it invites employers to initially become involved in work-based learning activities with a low level of commitment. For example, employers who agreed to meet students for a 30-minute mock interview or a half-day job shadow were more likely to provide opportunities for internships and jobs in the future; they found it helpful to first meet students with disabilities in person to hear about their skills and interests. The success of DO-IT's work-based learning program is documented in published articles, some of which can be linked from DO-IT's web page titled DO-IT: Research to Practice [3].

Below is an excerpt of text from the work-based learning menu distributed to potential employer partners.

PREPARING FOR SUCCESS THROUGH WORK-BASED LEARNING

Work-related experiences during school are associated with better employment outcomes for students with disabilities. We encourage you and others in your organization to collaborate with AccessCAREERS to meet students and take advantage of one or more of the work experience options listed below.

As well as the sample text above, the work-based learning menu includes information about who to contact and how to complete and return the menu to DO-IT AccessCareers staff.

References