Using Data to Promote Access to High-Quality Work-Based Learning: Tools and Considerations for States

Using Data to Promote Access to High-Quality Work-Based Learning: Tools and Considerations for States
Using Data to Promote Access to High-Quality Work-Based Learning: Tools and Considerations for States

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Slideshow Presentation


Across the country, states are increasingly looking to expand student access to work-based learning (WBL) experiences as a strategy to improve student college and career readiness. In order to promote equitable access to high-quality WBL, states should consider ways to use data to inform the design, scale, and implementation of their WBL systems.

This webinar provided an overview of the role geographic information systems (GIS) and WBL measures can play in helping states make data-driven WBL decisions, highlighted examples of emerging states that are utilizing GIS and WBL measures, and shared new resources and tools to help support states’ WBL efforts.

Webinar Resources

Presenter Biographies

Natalie Clark
Education Program Consultant
Kansas State Department of Education

Natalie Clark is an Education Program Consultant for the Kansas State Department of Education in the areas of Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Marketing.  Natalie works with the Career, Standards, and Assessment Services Team at KSDE and is a member of the IPS (Individual Plan of Study) work group that includes Work-Based Learning.  Natalie’s high school classroom experience includes Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Instructor, Yearbook Advisor, Pathway Teacher in the areas of Marketing Management and Hospitality and Tourism.  Former Certified Municipal Clerk.

Ellen Cushing
Deputy Director
College & Career Readiness & Success Center
American Institutes for Research

Ellen Cushing is Deputy Director for the College and Career Readiness and Success Center and a senior research & policy analyst at American Institutes for Research. Ms. Cushing has over ten years of experience providing technical assistance support at the national, state and local level on various education reforms including college and career readiness, educator evaluation and educator talent management. Currently, Ms. Cushing is leading several state-based technical assistance efforts focused on developing college- and career-readiness for all students. This work includes supporting states in designing and implementing work-based learning and apprenticeship programs, aligning state Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Carl D. Perkins Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) policies and programs and integrating academic, technical and employability skills in PK-16 initiatives.

Jessica Giffin
Technical Assistance Consultant
College & Career Readiness & Success Center
American Institutes for Research

Jessica Giffin, is a Researcher at the American Institutes for Research and serves as a Technical Assistance Consultant for the College and Career Readiness and Success Center.  Giffin provides support to states and districts implementing policies and initiatives  related to work-based learning, employability skills, and other career-readiness priorities. Ms. Giffin has developed and delivered professional learning sessions to state-level policymakers, educators, and business and industry staff focused on integrating employability skills into the classroom and measuring and assessing work-based learning. Giffin earned her master’s degree in political science from Ohio University.

Emily Passias
Director, Office of Career-Technical Education
Ohio Department of Education

Dr. Passias joined the Ohio Department of Education 2012, first serving as the data and accountability lead for Career-Technical Education, then as the Assistant Director in the Office of Accountability, before being named as the Director of Career-Technical Education in 2016. Her work has focused on state policies aimed at preparing students for college and careers. Dr. Passias led the development and implementation of the nation’s first A-F report card focused on career-technical education, as well as the development of Ohio’s career-focused pathway to high school graduation. She also leads the department’s industry-credential initiatives, ensuring that students are encouraged to earn high-demand credentials that Ohio employers value. In the Office of Career-Technical Education, Dr. Passias’s work is focused on expanding career pathway options for students and ensuring all CTE programs are of high quality and are aligned to the needs of Ohio businesses.

Emily is an alumni of the Strategic Data Project through the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at The Ohio State University.

Trent Sharp
Senior Systems Change Consultant
College & Career Readiness & Success Center
American Institutes for Research

Trent Sharp is a Senior Systems Change Consultant at American Institutes for Research. He leads AIR’s place-based data visualization team, which includes multiple projects serving state agencies who are applying geospatial analysis as a centerpiece to systems alignment and intra-agency collaboration. Sharp also leads AIR’s Smart Cities division, which utilizes human centered design and participatory research methodologies to ensure that smart technology solutions are crafted for the specific needs of specific communities. Trent has recently lead school improvement change processes as a teacher, turnaround principal, district-level reform director, regional specialist, and consultant on state and national projects. His research interests include the policy and program intersections between economic development, work force development, human and environmental health, and education. He received MAs in curriculum and instruction and education administration from the University of Texas. He is currently completing a PhD in Education Policy and Planning with a focus on socially just urban planning at the University of Texas at Austin.


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.