Supporting Work-Based Learning Implementation: Self-Assessment of Intermediary Practices

Beth Ratway, Marjorie Cohen, and Ellen Cushing

Across the country, work-based learning (WBL) is increasingly emerging as an effective strategy for providing authentic opportunities for students to learn, develop, and demonstrate crucial career-readiness skills. Building a statewide WBL delivery system, however, can be challenging.

Potential issues may include coordinating across state agencies; developing meaningful, reciprocal relationships with industry; and establishing measures to analyze the success of local implementation. Many states rely on intermediaries to address these challenges. Intermediaries connect and coordinate entities (e.g., employers, schools, postsecondary institutions, individuals) that are essential for creating WBL opportunities for students. Examples of specific roles an intermediary might play include facilitating partnerships between educators and employers, identifying new employer partners, and navigating economic and workforce development priorities. In addition, intermediaries may provide structured career-development support to school staff, employers, and individual students.

The Self-Assessment of Intermediary Practices tool supports the development, improvement, and operationalization of state, regional, and district efforts to use intermediaries or to implement intermediary strategies that contribute to a comprehensive, high-quality WBL system.