Connecting Activities (CA) is a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education initiative that leverages a statewide infrastructure to support “college and career readiness” for all students. The CA line item in the state budget establishes public-private partnerships through the 16 local workforce investment boards to connect schools and businesses by providing structured work-based learning experiences for students that support both their academic and employability skill attainment.
Connecting Activities enables staff to recruit employers; prepare and place students in brokered work-based learning opportunities, and structure those experiences through the use of the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan. Through CA, students achieve more learning hours by extending the classroom to the workplace while providing more adults who can support them in one-to-one relationships. For a more in-depth review of Connecting Activities, please visit Connecting Activities website.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Task Force for the Integration of College and Career Readiness which issued their report “From Cradle to Career: Educating Our Students for Lifelong Success” in June 2012, recognized that students who are able to gain experience and exposure to the world of work while in high school are better prepared to persist in and complete postsecondary education and succeed in pursuing livable wage careers.
During the fiscal year 2017, Connecting Activities generated the following outcomes:
- 10,780 students participated in work-based learning experiences.
- 4,044 employer sites hosted these work-based learning experiences.
- 8,633 placements brokered by the CA network either implemented the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan (7,493 students or 70% of the total) and/or were connected to classroom and workshop instruction, including career pathway classes, internship seminars, work readiness workshops and more (7,278 students or 68% of the total).
- Employers invested $14,670,583 in employer-paid placements that included a work-based learning plan and/or a series of classroom or workshop instruction. The Connecting Activities legislation requires a 2:1 match of employer-paid wages to the approximately $3 million state allocation to the program and the initiative regularly exceeds this 2:1 match, as it did in FY17.
- 1,100 employers sponsored career awareness and exploration activities for students including career days, job shadowing, guest speaker programs, STEM industry awareness events and more. These career awareness and exploration activities served an estimated 35,388 students.
- 188 high schools were partners in the CA initiative and another 83 high schools were members.
The Board of Higher Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt a common definition of “college and career readiness” establishing that workplace readiness is essential in preparing all students for a 21st-century economy.