As a hub for the Linked Learning movement, the Alliance offers research, stories, and tools that help people understand the impact of Linked Learning and implement this approach at high levels of quality.
This brief presents findings from the Oakland Health Pathways Project (OHPP), a joint initiative of Oakland Unified School District, Alameda Health System, and Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. The initiative is designed to improve educational and long-term employment outcomes for youth of color in Oakland (Alameda County), California, while expanding and diversifying the local health care workforce. It applies Linked Learning, an approach to college and career preparation that combines classroom learning with real-world work experiences. This brief draws on interviews with key personnel from the three partner organizations to distill lessons learned on effective cross-sector partnerships and delivery of authentic work-based learning. These lessons are timely as the health care industry is projected to account for about a third of total U.S. job growth through 2026, and includes 20 of the 30 fastest growing occupations nationally. Findings from this Oakland initiative can help other communities better align K-12 education and student experiences with projected local labor needs.
All Linked Learning pathway teachers need to understand the specific knowledge and skills students will need to perform industry-sector jobs. However, not all pathway teachers have this knowledge, nor do they always know how particular discipline content is used within an industry.
In the brief, "The District Office as a Site for Work-Based Learning," Ann Jaquith and Jamie Johnston describe an approach to teachers’ professional learning that can develop and/or enrich the distinctive aspects of Linked Learning pathways. Drawing from ongoing work in California’s Montebello Unified School District (MUSD), the authors show how district and school leaders can help core teachers better understand career-relevant knowledge and skills, and encourage CTE teachers to collaborate with their colleagues.
By combining academic and technical instruction, Linked Learning has proven to be a powerful approach to education—creating a relevant and engaging learning environment and, most importantly, preparing students with the range of 21st Century skills needed for success in college and career.
Despite the known benefits of Linked Learning, negative perceptions about career and technical education still exist. Shifting to this new paradigm requires more than redesigning school structures to incorporate Linked Learning pathways and legislating policies that provide needed resources. It also requires societal shifts in attitudes and beliefs.
This brief offers recommendations for classroom practices that will enable the effective integration of core academic and career technical subjects that can truly prepare students for college and career.
The idea of linking hands-on learning with academics is not a new one. John Dewey advocated education through experience at the turn of the last century. Unfortunately, relatively few schools offer this integrated approach, typically limiting instruction to textbooks and lectures.
Yet, evidence suggests that students who engage in experiences that connect school learning to the real world are more likely to stay in school. Furthermore, such experiences increase the chances that students will be both college and career ready. Work-based learning (WBL) programs are an integral part of Linked Learning and help foster the goal of providing students with the skills they need to succeed in college and career.
This brief describes the successful elements of WBL programs and offers guidance for implementation.
When rigorous academics are combined with demanding career-based learning in real-world professional workplaces, students are better prepared to succeed in college, career and life. Embracing the Linked Learning model, the Center for Advanced Research and Technology—a high school in Clovis, California—released data that demonstrates how combining rigorous academics and real-world learning opportunities can lead to a higher percentage of enrollments in both community college and four-year universities. In particular, the study finds that attendance in a Linked Learning pathway more than doubled the rate of college entrance for minority students.