The Massachusetts School to Career Connecting Activities Initiative


Topic 2: Developing an Internship Program

The core of the Connecting Activities mission is the development of work-based learning opportunities for students.   Work-based learning is defined as work site experience, that is:

  • Sustained over a period of time (that is, not a one-day job shadow or visit);
  • Supervised by industry or community professionals;
  • In workplace settings that involve real workplace tasks, projects, goals, and/or customers;
  • Providing in-depth, firsthand engagement with the tasks required in a given career field;
  • Providing opportunities for learning and reflection, so that the experience is a skill-building and career development experience. 

Work-Based Learning may include simulated environments at an educational setting, such as a school-based store, print shop or bank, or work experience in a school department such as information technology, school library, school athletics department or classroom teacher aide;

In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan is the element that is used to structured work-based learning experiences, building opportunities for reflecting on relevant skills and experiences.

Work-based learning may include internships, summer jobs, cooperative education experiences, apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship programs or general work experiences that provide these elements.  

The Connecting Activities initiative supports a variety of work-based learning experiences, including starting and managing programs directly under the Connecting Activities umbrella and collaborating with other programs in the school and community.  Connecting Activities coordinators are often responsible for helping to establish a new internship program in a school as well as provide expertise, resources, materials and staffing for an existing program.   The Connecting Activities line item in the state budget specifically calls for Connecting Activities collaboration with the YouthWorks program and with the High Quality College and Career Pathway (HQCCP) initiative.   We also collaborate with a wide variety of additional summer jobs programs, career pathway internships, school-to-work transition for students with special needs, and other work-based learning programming.


·       Elements of Model Internship Programs

·       From the DESE website: High Quality College and Career Pathways

Practice / Application Exercises:

·       CHART: Draw a flow chart showing the steps a student follows to apply for and start an internship.

·       CHART: Draw a flow chart showing the steps an employer follows to apply for and host an internship position.

·       BRAINSTORM: With a colleague, write a list of benefits to employers and benefits to students of participating in a work-based learning program.

·       SEE Topic 3 below to learn more about how the Work-Based Learning Plan enhances an internship experience.

To learn more:

·       Follow links in the Elements of Model Internship Programs guide to read more about accommodations and supports for students with disabilities in internship programs.

Getting Started - CA Professional Development Outline
Reflection: Professional Roles, Skills and Knowledge
Topic 1: Elements of Connecting Activities
Topic 2: Developing an Internship Program
Topic 3: Using the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan
Topic 4: Working with Employers & Understanding the Labor Market
Topic 5: Building Partnerships with Schools
Topic 6: Using the Massachusetts Career Ready Database
Topic 7: The Career Development Continuum