Illustrates the powerful potential of work-based learning in the health care industry to meet the needs of learners who are underserved in traditional educational settings.

“Job to Careers projects have brought access to higher education to individuals who—through limitations of poverty, lack of education, lack of time and financial resources, or cultural barriers—would otherwise have had little access to higher education. The Jobs to Careers projects in Alaska, Arizona, and Hawaii used work-based learning to enhance the use of culturally aware and sensitive strategies that validated workers’ values and experiences, developing better, more confident learners. Culturally sensitive strategies (e.g., learning circles, involving community elders, group learning) increased workers’ confidence and motivation, demystified higher education, and led to workers’ greater sense of professionalism” (p. 9-10). (Abstractor: Author)

Full Publication Title: Merging Tradition and Innovation in Workforce Development: Health Care, Work-Based Learning, and Indigenous Americans in Jobs to Careers

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “One of the most important aspects of work-based learning is that supervisors assume some of the responsibility for curricular instruction, instead of instruction being the sole province of college faculty. For Native-American workers, this was particularly important in light of the disconnect and discomfort they feel in academic settings and from traditional academic material” (p. 9). • “In Alaska, Arizona, and Hawaii, project designers enlisted the support of their communities in encouraging participants to enroll. In addition, the projects themselves reflected the holistic worldview of many indigenous American cultures that the activities of one member are reflected in and by these of the entire community” (p. 9). • “Elders, as guides and representatives of these communities, provide important encouragement to learners in these Jobs to Careers projects. The partnerships all incorporated community elders into their strategic planning and throughout the projects. By infusing culturally relevant traditions into the implementation of Jobs to Careers, employers improved their ability to reflect the demographics of their communities in both frontline and professional positions” (p. 9). • “Employers paid students’ tuition and expenses so they could participate in coursework. They allowed participants to take courses and discuss coursework during work hours. Supervisors even participated as co-learners and mentors. Students and instructors acted as learning teams, helping one another through academic and professional issues. Employers also arranged for classes to meet via teleconferencing or in person at or close to the workplace” (p. 9). (Abstractor: Author)