All students in the Early College Studies program take Workplace Learning in their freshman, sophomore, and junior year of high school. This course is classified in the Program of Studies as an elective to satisfy graduation credits, but it is a course that is required for those in the program.
Workplace Learning provides students with a simulated professional environment both in curriculum and in physical setting. The curriculum for Workplace Learning is one that centers around problem-based learning. Instead of testing students on content after-the-fact to see if they learned it, teachers present students with a real-world global or local problem and require students to work in teams to create a product that addresses the problem. The need to solve the problem drives the need to learn the content and provides a situation where students directly apply the content they learn.
The physical setting of the Workplace Learning classroom is one that fosters teamwork and collaboration. You won’t find any desks in the room; instead high-top tables, rolling training tables, all-in-one work stations and college lounge-style benches provide work spaces for our students to use based on the type of work they need to do that day.
The focus in Workplace Learning I is on students learning how to work effectively as a team. It is important for Early College Studies students to be driven and motivated learners since they will all find themselves frequently needing to contribute to their group’s efforts. The curriculum requires students to accomplish individual requirements in order to effectively accomplish team requirements. Students are asked to examine the world as a global citizen and can find themselves running focus groups to test a product meant to raise a target audience’s awareness of an international issue or perhaps participating in the United Nation’s Youth 2030 initiative.
In Workplace Learning II, students use what they learned about working in teams in Workplace Learning I to then have teams collaborate as part of an organization. The entire class acts as a consulting firm and takes on projects for local “clients,” such as the city’s efforts to reinvent itself as a technology hub in the tri-state area through the grant provided to Innovate Stamford. Students rotate through the various departments within the firm throughout the year, eventually accumulating all of the content in the course via the Leadership Team, the Human Resource Department, the Marketing Team, the Research and Development Division, and the Finance Department.
Workplace Learning III focuses on the individual as a professional and, as such, much of the work the student does is driven by his or her interests. Students learn about branding themselves — for both college and career — about how to use social media responsibly and effectively to grow their network and their reach, and they engage in 20% Time to work on Capstone-like projects that exhibit their strengths as students and potential employees.