BEDC unites local businesses and educational partners through work-based learning initiatives

This fall, Brookings High School (BHS) is transitioning to the Career Pathways learning model to help students explore and experience future careers and provide increased opportunities to be engaged in the community. Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is supporting this initiative through a new program highlighting the vast number of career choices available in the Brookings region. This program lets students hone in on their interests before fully committing to an educational/training or career pathway.

One of BEDC’s key initiatives is to align industry and education. This program supports the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to students and engages them in career awareness activities in the Brookings area. By collaborating with BHS and local businesses, BEDC’s goal is to help facilitate the expansion of these types of programs.

“Opportunities for career exploration give students a broader exposure to the working world they will one day enter. It helps bridge the gap between industry and education right here in our community,” said Sarah Hauge, BEDC’s director of workforce development. “Expanding students’ awareness of area businesses and the jobs they offer will build an educated and engaged workforce. In the long term, students are more likely to stay connected to the Brookings area because they’ve had meaningful experiences with employers and professional mentors.”

Students involved in work-based learning programs develop skills that employer’s value, according to Hauge. These skills include technical proficiencies and key competencies, such as collaborating as a team member, an awareness of the need to be proactive, and an understanding of workplace expectations.

As part of this new program, BEDC is collaborating with BHS to develop an online career exploration directory to showcase local employers that provide student learning opportunities through the following:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Guest Speakers/Presenters
  • Informational Interviews
  • Internships
  • Job Shadowing
  • Industry Tours

This online directory will give participating employers the opportunity to become a “VIP” in building the future Brookings workforce. Businesses will increase their VISIBILITY to potential workforce, provide INFORMATION about career opportunities within their industry and build a PIPELINE for future employees.

“BEDC’s collaborative programs with BHS and other educational providers, along with our valued partnerships with local businesses, will create better outcomes for students and long-term economic growth for the community,” said Hauge.

Businesses interested in participating in career awareness activities are encouraged to direct all inquiries to BEDC by calling (605) 697.8103 or by emailing Hauge at

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