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Career Connected Learning in Action

Why do we need career-connected learning?

Today’s jobs require some kind of training or education beyond high school. However, too many young people are leaving high school without ever having had the chance to meaningfully explore actual jobs and career pathways and build the skills they will need to pursue those careers.

In fact, Washington state has many employers who are unable to find people with the right training and qualifications and needing to recruit from out of state. With one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, our students should not be left on the sidelines. Washington state residents agree.

The state expects 740,000 job openings over the next five years – almost three quarters of which require a credential beyond high school. To enable our young people to achieve their highest potential and to keep employers growing here, we need to connect more Washington students to those in-demand, high-potential careers.

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What does career-connected learning look like?

Everyone learns in different ways. Career connected learning programs are a great way to expose students to a variety of careers and real-world skills, and those programs have different levels of intensity and preparation. Some of these activities can start before high school; others continue through early adulthood. Our state already has some programs and opportunities, but the time has come to scale up and ensure that all Washington students have a chance to access them.

These general categories reflect different levels of intensity and commitment. Click on the link to learn more about each category.

Career Connect Washington - Career Explore

Good support in school helps students gain awareness about jobs and careers that are outside their regular field of vision, and moves them from awareness to action by putting them in direct contact with professionals in the field. These activities can be part of the school experience starting in elementary school, as students explore jobs and industries that match their skills and interests.

  • Career fairs
  • Work site tours
  • Career presentations
  • Work-based problem solving
  • Job shadowing / preparation events
  • Networking events

> More on Career Explore

Career Connect Washington - Career Prep

These programs give students more hands-on experience in a particular business, career track or industry, and can help them prepare for being in a professional setting and making decisions about the next steps in their education and training.

  • Comprehensive internship
  • Pre-apprenticeship
  • Instructional work site learning
  • Cooperative work site learning
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) concentrators
  • Community and Technical Colleges (CTC programs without required work-based learning)

More on Career Prep

Career Connect Washington - Career Launch

The most intensive type of career connected learning program, Career Launch programs combine paid, meaningful work experiences with aligned classroom learning so students can receive a credential and become a competitive job candidate. This includes registered apprenticeships and Career Launch programs in the K-12, CTC, and 4-year systems. We aim to ensure that 60% of young adults beginning in the class of 2030 will participate in a Career Launch program.

  • Registered apprenticeships
  • CTC programs with required work-based learning
  • CTE that meets credential and work-based learning requirements
  • 4-year program with required work-based learning

> More on Career Launch

Please use the form below to contact us. You do not need to submit a message; however, please do fill in the “Subject” field to give us a better idea of your interest in Career Connect Washington. Thank you!


Please use the form below to contact us. You do not need to submit a message; however, please do fill in the “Subject” field to give us a better idea of your interest in Career Connect Washington. Thank you!