Preparing Students for the Workforce + Reducing the Skills Gap

Published November 2023

"All of these experiences - for the past 28 years - have allowed me to see the challenges, triumphs, vulnerabilities, versatility, and resilience of students (and their families). I’ve learned a great deal from them - and they have helped me be a better educator." - Ann Henry

Work-Based-Learning, the New On-the-Job Training
Two Rivers High School is dynamic with its academic offerings and diverse approaches to ensure each student’s success upon graduation. As trends change, our course offerings can evolve as well—Work-Based Learning (WBL), a new program at the high school, is a perfect example. It’s a resurgence of the original On-the-Job Training (OJT) from 20 years ago. Leading WBL is Program Coordinator, and well-known Two Rivers Teacher, Ann Henry. Ann brings loads of experience to the program and has touched the lives of countless students and families with 28 years at Two Rivers as a current AVID and Language Arts teacher plus former coach, counselor and CAPS instructor. 

In the new WBL program Ann collaborates with each family and student to arrange the best possible blueprint for their student’s success. Students receive personalized career support and upon completion earn a credit at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC). Read her interview below and learn more about this exciting program now available at Two Rivers. 

What is work-based learning and what does that look like at Two Rivers?
The purpose of work-based learning is to provide students the opportunity to connect what they learn in school with their paid work experience - during the school day. It is a formal arrangement between the school, the employer and the student/family that follows a structured training plan focused on guided support, career exploration and individualized growth.  

How did you start work-based learning (formerly OJT, On-the-Job Training)
The versatility of my professional career in education has opened my eyes to the importance of collaboration with schools and local businesses. Jobs and the workforce are ever changing and I hope to provide students with the tools to envision for themselves - what their future looks like.  

Future plans with work-based learning?
Significant evidence exists that work-based learning works. I hope the program will gather traction and become a vital part of our school and the community.  In fact, the future plan would be to provide career internships, workplace simulations, specialized certifications, driver’s training programs, apprenticeship opportunities and forward thinking about jobs that don’t even exist yet. The future is bright!!

What do you love most about the Two Rivers Community?
What I love most about the Two Rivers Community is the opportunity to work with such an amazing staff. I’m also thrilled that the district is willing to invest in new initiatives that foster growth and opportunities for all.  Not everything works - but being open-minded and supportive of these initiatives is vital to our ever-changing world.