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Connect the Work

Are your students ready for their best possible future?

Connect the Work is a K-16 career readiness curriculum, taking people on a journey of self-discovery, leading to a better understanding of themselves, and how to match strengths, interests, and values to life's opportunities. Our tasks and resources support people as they develop their identity, expand their experiences, map opportunities, dream and reflect.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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Target group
Students basic
June 2023
Career learning as an integrated part of the curriculum, with a focus on strengths, interests, and values leading to careers that fit. Students having the vocabulary and skills to navigate career learning, and as a regular and routine experience for students from Kindergarten through post-secondary education.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Connect the Work was designed in response to a lack of reflective career learning opportunities for students.

We use evidence-based career readiness elements and dialogic questioning as our design to support students in answering these four questions:
- Who are you?
- How are you growing?
- What are your options?
- Where are you headed?

What does your innovation look like in practice?

In one district lessons are being used as part of their GATE program between 4th and 6th grade. Each grade focuses on a different theme; Strengths, Interests, or Values. In each year students experience lessons that take them on an exploration of self to help them find the type of career that might best suit them.

In another district each school has its own theme: Arts, STEAM, AVID, Communications, and IB. We helped each school select a specific set of lessons and experiences to help students explore careers connected to their school theme.

We are supporting a third district to create a GATE program with a specific culminating. Students used Connect The Work lessons to think about and plan the kind of business they might like to own some day. The lessons help them prepare to become better speakers, write an executive summary, and to discover whether they would prefer to design a business or a charity, culminating with a presentation to possible stakeholders.

How has it been spreading?

In 2022 Connect the Work started supporting districts through California’s Strong Workforce Program. The goal of the program is for “More and Better Career Technical Education to Increase Social Mobility and Fuel Regional Economies with Skilled Workers”.

During this initial year, Connect the Work was implemented in five districts. 200 educators trained, and approximately 6,000 students engaged in our lessons and experiences.

This year we are supporting Career Counseling in several Maryland and Indiana counties. Connect the Work is becoming part of the process that students use to better understand themselves and career options.

In the next 2-3 years we plan on supporting additional districts and students through integrated classroom learning, as well as career counseling support.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

First explore some of the sample lessons and activities shared on our website -
- Prioritize Interests
- Identify Talents + Strengths
- Connect with Role Models
- Explore Growing Work Sectors
- Grow Your Attribution Tree

Next, contact us directly to set up an appointment to discuss how Connect The Work can be implemented in your specific educational environment.

Implementation steps

Develop Identity... Who Are You?
Students identify and think about their strengths, interests, and values. Students benefit from repeated inventories, surveys, journaling, and discussing their aspirations as they develop a sense of identity for their present and future self.
Expand Experiences ... How Are You Growing?
Projects, group work, simulations, embedded work experiences, and interactions with role models help students expand the context and understanding of the world of work. Who out there is doing specific kinds of work? What are the options?
Map Opportunities... What Are Your Options?
Students make sense of the wide range of opportunities and how to access those options. Students explore career paths in high school and beyond, investigate different kinds of career sectors, and become ready for various present and future opportunities.
Reflect and Dream... Where Are You Headed?
Career development is not a linear experience. It often involves adjusting to new contexts, adopting new strategies, and refining goals. Students develop their narrative and set goals, learn the discipline of honest reflection which helps strengthen their ability to guide their educational and career paths.

Spread of the innovation

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