Career Center students are building their career readiness while collecting paychecks

One very popular option for students currently in high school is Work-Based Learning, a program that gives students high school credit to go work a job during the school day.

Very different from traditional education, Work-Based Learning allows students to develop a professional life while still learning and getting paid. Most students in the program work in offices, restaurants, or skilled trades.

One school that exemplifies Work-Based Learning is the Bay Arenac ISD Career Center and its Career and Technical Education Center (CTE).

The Bay Arenac ISD Career Center has two coordinators overseeing 327 students placed with several hundred community partners throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region. Students enrolled in CTE and Work-Based Learning get experience in several industries including business, healthcare, technology, and skilled trades.
You can learn more about Career Center programs at its annual Open House from 4 to 7 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 16.

Most students at the Career Center are required to participate in Work-Based Learning. The coordinators help students find positions related to their goals in order to increase the quality of their education.

“The unique aspect of work-based learning at our facility is the direct tie to the program content,” says Work-Based Learning Coordinator Tiffany Sheppard. “It is  awesome to see how students thrive in programs where they are learning skills for their future careers, that we in return are helping to jumpstart through industry placement.”

Sheppard has worked at the Career Center for eight years. Before that, she was an Admission Advisor for Delta College and Regional Program Coordinator for Career Jump Start. Today, she spends her day managing new and current Work-Based Learning placements and teaches Employability Skills Training.

I’m a second-year students in the Marketing and Management Program at the Career Center. I’ve learned so much while working for the Career Center; I’ve networked with so many people and has taught me what a real job is and what my options are for college and beyond. My Work-Based Learning placement takes me to Bay Future Inc. and Route Bay City. I’ve had a total of three Work-Based Learning Placements while at the Career Center. After graduation, I want to go to college to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in fashion merchandising and a Master’s Degree in marketing.

Kaleb Passage, another second-year student in the Career in Education Program at the Career Center, also credits his Work-Based Learning experience with giving him an understanding of what it will take to meet his goals.

“This program has helped me solidify my future plans and has given me countless opportunities including giving me my Child-Development Association Certificate,” Kaleb says.

Kaleb does his Work-Based Learning internally at the Career Center, working in the all-inclusive preschool. After graduating from high school, Kaleb wants to earn a Master’s Degree in early-childhood development with a special education endorsement.

Work-Based Learning Coordinator Kellie Seward says the students aren’t the only ones enjoying the experience.

“It amazes me that after 26 years in this job, I still see such an impact students have after participating in Work-Based Learning,” Seward says. “To see them return with confidence and gained knowledge is so rewarding.”

Before working Career Center, Seward worked for Bay County as a Training Coordinator and as a Human Resource Manager at Target. Now, Seward spends her day managing new and current Work-Based Learning placements and teaches Employability Skills Training courses.
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