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 (# 7027-0019) in the state budget, establishes public-private partnerships through the 16 local MassHire Workforce Boards to connect schools and businesses. The initiative provides 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 Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan. Through CA, students participate in a range of career-related activities that increase their career readiness and support their academic skill gain. For a more in-depth review of Connecting Activities, please visit this website.
The Board of Higher Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt a common definition of "college and career readiness" which established that workplace readiness is essential in preparing all students for success in a 21st century economy.
More recently, a task force report from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) called "Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students," established recommendations for advancing the career readiness component of the college and career readiness proposition. CCSSO took the findings of that report and created the national New Skills For Youth initiative in which Massachusetts has been an active participant since 2016. Through the New Skills For Youth initiative, CCSSO emphasizes the critical importance of providing students "with a much richer set of experiences in high school that expose them to different career options; help make better connections between classroom learning and professional application; and support planning for the future."
The CA network has persisted in its delivery of these critical experiences for students for over 20 years. During fiscal year 2018, 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.
Career Development Education Lead
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
Phone: (781) 338-3948
Fax: (781) 338-3090
For additional information, including tools and resources visit Massachusetts Connecting Activities.