Linking Learning to Life, Inc., was launched as a new non-profit corporation in October 2002 as a merger

of the prior Linking Learning to Life initiative in the Burlington School District, with the Lake Champlain Regional School-To-Work Collaborative operating throughout Chittenden County, Vermont. The two organizations have developed a wide range of programs, tools and materials, and partnerships over the past several years that have helped young people successfully prepare for life beyond school. The new organization brings together the knowledge and experience of many students, educators, employers, and other community partners.

Linking Learning to Life works!

Linking Learning to Life has engaged over 2,500 students annually in a broad range of school-to-career activities, has successfully secured investments from 20 different public and private funders, and has earned recognition as an exemplary school-to-work initiative from three national and state awards programs. Several of its programs have been recognized as models and replicated in other communities.

The Lake Champlain Regional School-To-Work efforts have resulted in over 1,000 job shadowing placements, partnerships with over 350 employers, and the publication of a School-To- Work Resource Guide and Curriculum Guide for teachers. The Learn to Earn Program has expanded statewide and reached over 6,500 students in 10 Vermont counties last year. The new on-line School-To- Career Database provides on-going access to information about employers and educators participating in school-to-work activities.

Linking Learning to Life meets the real needs of the community!

Critical issues facing young people making a successful transition into the workforce include staying in school, being seen as assets to the community instead of problems, understanding the connections between academics and skills needed in the workplace, and finding adult role models who care about their future. While the mission of school-to-work efforts in our region has been to assist ALL K-12 students with success beyond high school, highly effective program models have also been developed for specific groups of young people — e.g. new Americans, those from low income households, first generation college students, students with disabilities, and others — to successfully enter the workforce.

Linking Learning to Life is a community solution!

We all know that our local schools cannot do it alone. This type of hands-on education requires a partnership with many stakeholders — employers, educators, parents, state and local government, community-based organizations, mentors and others. Over 350 employers have supported student learning in the workplace. Many other community organizations including all 5 area colleges, Spectrum Youth & Family Services, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the VT Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the VT Institute for Science, Math & Technology, the Burlington Community Schools Project, the Chittenden County United Way, and many others are formal partners in making this work.

Linking Learning to Life programs and services can be done anywhere!

Many of our program models are already being replicated in other Vermont communities, including Learn to Earn, College Connections, Ready, Set, Work!, and the School-Based Vocational Rehabilitation programs. Our experience has also lead to creating essential Resource Guides and Toolkits, and web-based products that will enable us to share knowledge and best practices across school districts and communities.

“According to LLL stakeholders, more Burlington youth are choosing to stay in school and are equipped with the tools necessary to make the transition to post-secondary education and the world of work specifically because of LLL specific programs and activities. Programs offered by LLL are considered to be important and necessary. As evidenced by the extensive survey comments, teachers and employers from the Burlington community believe strongly that LLL initiatives should be continued and expanded…

Overall, evaluation indicators suggest that Linking Learning to Life has had a profound impact on the Burlington community over the past five years. Each program supported by or developed by Linking Learning to Life (including Mentoring, College Connections, Career Development, and the Vermont Employer Teacher Internship Program) was referred to by stakeholders as important and resulting in positive academic and vocational outcomes for youth. In addition, teachers and employers reported significant personal and professional benefits as a result of participation in LLL and lend their unequivocal support for continuation and expansion of Linking Learning to Life school-to-work initiatives.”

–Summary, Linking Learning to Life Final Evaluation Report, January 2003, Rebecca Gajda, Ph.D., University of Vermont

LINKING LEARNING TO LIFE   52 Institute Road, Burlington, VT 05401   Ph: 802 951-8845 | Fax: 802 951-8851