VE Program Featured as a Noteworthy Practice in New Report from the U.S. Department of Education

A new U.S. Department of Education report from the National Center for Innovation in Career & Technical Education (CTE) outlines the opportunities, challenges, instructional approaches, and noteworthy practices of U.S.-based simulated work-based learning (WBL) programs. The report cites how VE serves as a high-quality simulated WBL program and includes a site interview with Granville County Public Schools, which is currently one of 12 school districts in North Carolina implementing the VE program. A uniquely scalable approach for giving all students across America in-depth workplace and entrepreneurial experience during the school day, VE is implemented in hundreds of other districts around the country. The VE program currently serves 13,000 students a year across 500 middle and high schools throughout the U.S.

Why Granville County Public Schools Adopted VE

“Granville County began using VEI due to teachers’ and administrators’ dissatisfaction with traditional WBL, which they viewed as antiquated and inadequate to prepare students to enter the workforce. Due to the rural setting of Granville County, instructional programs that used simulation were considered advantageous to providing a worldwide connection for students who otherwise would be isolated. The administration in Granville County learned about VEI in 2008 and travelled to Tennessee to observe a VEI simulation in action, implementing VEI shortly thereafter, and the simulation is now fully implemented in all three high schools in the district. Following Granville County’s lead, 11 other school districts across North Carolina are now using VEI.”

(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Simulated Work-Based Learning: Instructional Approaches and Promising Practices. Washington, D.C., 2017)

State CTE Director Support a Key in Program Adoption

“Granville County has received strong support from the state CTE director and the Department of Public Instruction throughout the research and implementation process. Administrators from Granville County credit their adoption of VEI to the support provided by the North Carolina State CTE director, who advocated on behalf of their programs at the state level, allowing them to implement the VEI program without excessive obstacles. Granville County has also received good publicity on a state and national level because of the director’s efforts to publicize its success.”

(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Simulated Work-Based Learning: Instructional Approaches and Promising Practices. Washington, D.C., 2017)

How VE Connects Students with Local Communities

“The surrounding local communities are also taking on roles in helping VEI students gain real-world experiences. For example, one year a local municipality contacted Granville County with a request that VEI students help create a marketing plan for the town, which was to be presented to the board of commissioners. The students created graphics, slogans, and marketing materials that were ultimately accepted by the board to serve as the marketing plan for that town.”

(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Simulated Work-Based Learning: Instructional Approaches and Promising Practices. Washington, D.C., 2017)

Catherine Imperatore provides a helpful summary of the report on ACTE’s CTE Policy Watch Blog, which details how WBL is integral to high-quality CTE, the models and benefits of simulated work-based learning, and keys to growing simulated WBL activities. The full “Simulated Work-Based Learning Instructional Approaches and Noteworthy Practices” report is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s website and on the National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education’s website.