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Capstone's Jared Asch Talks With Gina Del Carlo, Founder of Earn and Learn

From episode: Gina Del Carlo, Founder of Earn and Learn - EPISODE 16

The Creation of Earn & Learn hosted by Jared Asch

While working at the Workforce Development Board, that funding stream was through the Department of Labor, and it was for a particular subset of youth. They have adult programs and other programs. But the one I was working on was for youth who needed to qualify for services. We thought these services were needed for all youth and that every student deserved educational attainment, career exposure, readiness, and work-based learning support. Work-based learning is everything from a guest speaker, a field trip to an internship, an apprenticeship, and hopefully, a job they've chosen because they had the opportunity to explore and then felt passionate about something. We wanted to, and a group of people were working on this together. It was born from the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County in partnership with the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the Contra Costa Economic Partnership. We all came together and thought, this is a problem. How can we solve it?

AI wrote this blog post based on a transcript from the podcast, which contains errors; for the best content, listen to the podcast.

We started just piloting some ideas. It was very grassroots to expand work-based learning. We knew to do that; we needed to coordinate ourselves to make it easy for employers to say yes so that they would do more. We weren't fighting over the limited number of opportunities but increasing them so that everyone could have work-based learning. That's what inspired the idea. You saw a need for experienced learning.

Tell us more about what Earn and Learn do as a company. Talk about your clients and some of the people you're helping there.

At the Workforce Development Board, when we started piloting solutions, we quickly realized that we needed to use technology to scale work-based learning and to count and capture everything happening so that employers could say, yes, I will do that. Then, all the educators and workforce development professionals on the other side were coordinated, and we could fulfill that. We built a platform called ALENA, which stands for Earn and Learn Employer Network Activated. It's a CRM built on top of Salesforce. It easily allows employers to offer work-based learning at scale. Then, we match that to students, teachers, and community colleges who can connect with them using technology. Then, we track it, measure it, and give impact reports.

An example of what you're measuring for an employer. Last week, we coordinated and facilitated Manufacturing Day in Contra Costa County with some of our partners. We stepped into that role of facilitation and coordination because we saw that some schools were included in Manufacturing Day and could participate, and others could not do so. We tried to remove the barriers that made it difficult for some schools to attend Manufacturing Day. Those barriers include buses, lunch, even forms, substitute teachers, and coordination with the employer. All of those things are difficult for some districts or high schools that are just meeting their students' basic needs and cannot offer field trips. There are many barriers to why they can't do that. We stepped in and coordinated with the employers. We had nine different manufacturing companies in Contra Costa that hosted 400 students. We took the students on these field trips. I was a chaperone at Bishop Weiskarver for Richmond High, Monte Vista, and Ignatius Valley High School. Those students had a tour of Bishop Weiskarver, and then we took them to the community college to tour the pathway or program that aligned with that job.

This fall, we have seven events that we coordinate and facilitate to increase work-based learning so that everyone can have it. And we know it can't be solved with just technology but also needs to be solved with services. And sometimes a school doesn't have a staff person to be able to take this on. So we're able to step in and do this. So we're funded by schools, the Contra Costa County Office of Education. So many county offices of education. But in the beginning, this was just a Contra Costa County initiative. The reason it left the Workforce Development Board and was incubated at the Contra Costa Economic Partnership was so that we could serve communities outside of Contra Costa County. We expanded to Alameda County that first year. We needed to become an independent organization to serve all of California.


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