The School to Career Connecting Activities initiative (CA) is designed to build connections between employers and schools so they can provide work experience and other career development opportunities to the youth of Massachusetts. Connecting Activities is a state budget line item that provides funding for a range of staff (in a variety of settings). These are the people who create the school-employer connections for work-based learning and career awareness programs. They are the intermediaries who broker the partnerships that are essential for student experiences. They include employees of Workforce Investment Boards, Career Centers, schools, chambers of commerce, and community-based organizations. Connecting Activities staff also support a range of activities beyond work experiences, including job shadow days, career days, employer guest speaker programs, workshops, teacher externships, other career development activities, and curriculum development for the CDE work. The leading goal of the initiative is to place students in work-based learning experiences (jobs/internships). The enabling legislation for this initiative requires a 2:1 match, with two dollars of private sector wages generated by the brokered placements for every dollar of grant funding. The initiative has historically far exceeded that requirement; in FY15, the match was 4:1.
It offers a thorough review of the initiative, plus highlights of the CA work of each of the 16 local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs).
Connecting Activities funding flows from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) to the local WIBs. They have significant discretion over its use.
- Each region has flexibility in how it organizes and staffs the Connecting Activities initiative. ESE is not prescriptive about the structure of CA locally, recognizing that each region is unique and should respond to local circumstances.
- Each region, in consultation with local school districts, has flexibility in program design about the core function of connecting students with work-based learning experiences. Additional program design elements may include workshops, career fairs and career days, job shadow days, teacher externship programs, employer guest speaker programs, or other career development activities.
- Connecting Activities programming is intended to enhance, complement and support other programming in the school and community, so that youth can experience a range of opportunities as they develop college and career readiness throughout their high school years.