Shane Thomas of CareerCraft Joins Key National Group to Improve Work-Based Learning

CareerCraft's Shane Thomas is shaping the future of work-based learning with his selection to the New Skills Ready Network's elite workgroup

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Shane Thomas, Co-Founder & Chief Program Officer of CareerCraft, has been chosen to join a significant national workgroup, the New Skills Ready Network’s Shared Solutions Workgroup on Experiential Work-Based Learning. Along with him, 17 other experts from across the country have also been selected to help shape the future of learning at work.

About the New Skills Ready Network: 
The New Skills Ready Network started in 2020 through a collaboration between  Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, with funding from JPMorgan Chase. This initiative aims to improve and expand high-quality career training programs across various U.S. locations.

What is the New Skills Ready Network up to? 
This network supports JPMorgan Chase’s larger efforts in economic recovery. It’s part of their $350 million, five-year plan called New Skills at Work, which prepares people for upcoming job demands. There’s also a broader $30 billion plan focusing on racial equity and helping more students complete effective career training programs.

What is ‘Experiential Work-Based Learning’? 
Experiential work-based learning includes internships, apprenticeships, and in-depth projects run by students in schools. It provides real, hands-on experience that connects classroom learning with actual job skills and experiences. This workgroup is particularly interested in deeper, more thorough student work-based learning experiences like operating/managing student-led businesses, completing internships, and participating in apprenticeships.

Image Source: New Skills Ready Network’s Shared Solutions Workgroup on Experiential Work-Based Learning

Goals of the Shared Solutions Workgroup:  
This team of 18 experts is working to find and support more opportunities for hands-on learning linked to future careers. They aim to:

  • Find and highlight effective methods to help local and state leaders make these opportunities more accessible.
  • Create and share tools that assist sites involved in the New Skills initiative, as well as other states, to improve work-based learning.
  • Expand and enhance the quality of these learning experiences across the network and nationwide.

Recent Updates from the Workgroup: 
After several online meetings earlier this year, the group had their first face-to-face strategy meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland, on April 15-16, 2024. This meeting was a crucial step toward developing resources that will enhance practical learning opportunities and potentially transform how work-based learning is conducted across the U.S. Resources are projected to be released in June 2024.