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Grant makes work-based learning opportunities available via youth apprenticeship program

Posted on Aug 4, 2020, by

GPS Education Partners recently received a $5,000 grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation to create a Work-Based Learning Delivery Model for Menasha Corporation’s Education Center, which is helping provide Fox Valley area students who have been lost in the education system and are at risk of not graduating high school with work-based learning opportunities where they can apply academic and technical skills while developing their employability, including personalized learning plans and a 1-to-15 teacher-student ratio within the classroom. GPS is also supported by the Jewelers Mutual Charitable Giving Fund within the Foundation.

By Mary Anne Martiny, Director of Community Engagement, GPS Educational Partners

GPS Education Partners (GPSEd) is a nonprofit that has been delivering work-based learning solutions to revolutionize career readiness for almost two decades. We serve as an intermediary partner to schools, businesses, and communities to provide scalable, quality work-based learning solutions that impact educational systems, talent pipeline needs, and unite and lift local economies through the development of technical talent and young leaders.

What is work-based learning? Work-based learning gives students exposure to the world of work through a set of sequenced and coordinated activities. It addresses the shared goal of educators and employers in preparing students with the knowledge and skills necessary for productive careers. When executed correctly, work-based learning enables students to achieve educational outcomes that align with employer requirements—bridging the gap between school and work. Students have the opportunity for applied career exploration which brings job-relevance to the educational process. Through exposure and financial support, they gain access to new, attainable career opportunities.

GPSEd’s Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship Program

GPSEd’s Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship Program is a comprehensive and immersive program that has provided a transformational high school experience and graduated 850 students throughout southeastern and northeastern Wisconsin. By linking classroom learning to the real-world of work in technical careers, these students were shown a new pathway to post-secondary education and career training that was getting lost in the traditional K-12 system.

With the average student spending two years in the program (students remain enrolled in their home high schools but attend a GPSEd Education Center for all learning)- they complete the Department of Workforce Development Youth Apprenticeship Certification with more than 1500 hours of work-based learning, as well as complete essential high school core academics and foundational technical education courses, including the MSSC CPT Certification. GPSEd Education Centers provide a comprehensive experience to students that leverages the low student-to-instructor ratio to meet students where they are and challenge them to grow.

GPSEd has been supporting the Fox Valley region since 2012 with our education center having been located at Plexus Corp. Excitedly, we will be moving into a larger and more ideal educational space within Menasha Corporation in Neenah, further strengthening and solidifying our ties to the Fox Valley region.

What it means to carry out your mission

This year we celebrate 20 years of serving leaders in both business and schools with programs to identify, build, and develop the future workforce with students who struggle to see the connection between their education and an attainable career. GPSEd is dedicated to providing work-based learning solutions to students, that change the narrative around technical careers and provide access and opportunities to these family-sustaining careers. These activities provide equity and access to all students and help align more students to well-paying technical careers that are closing the skills gap for employers and building more prosperous communities.

What does a Community Foundation do? Glad you asked! Learn more here.

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