Linking Students to the Workforce

Educational Opportunities through School-Business Partnerships and the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District

Make a Difference in a Student's Future

"One day doesn't do it, but one day gets you thinking."
– Fran Kate, Director, School to Work Office, Mass. Department of Education
The Acton-Boxborough Regional Schools have had a long history of working with businesses to help students make curriculum connections and to help staff show students how academics are used in the work place. For over 25 years, the district has collaborated with area businesses to better prepare students for the future world of work. Activities are tailored to suit individual businesses, offer different levels of commitment, and are a great way to showcase your company. They may include: 
  • Inviting students to job shadow an employee for a morning or a day; 
  • Working with a student intern for a semester at your worksite; 
  • Creating an in-depth senior internship for three weeks; 
  • Hosting a field trip to teach students about your profession; 
  • Being a guest speaker in the classroom; 
  • Sponsoring a faculty externship for a summer, 
  • a semester, or a year.
"My internship opened my eyes to the field of forensics. It showed me the broad range of forensic medicine, and sparked a flame for forensics/crime scene investigation in my heart."
– ABRHS Senior Intern, Massachusetts State Crime Lab, Sudbury
The goals of the School Business Partnership are:
  • To provide students and educators with a variety of opportunities and experiences for understanding career choices and the work world; 
  • To provide businesses an opportunity to share knowledge and skills; 
  • To provide businesses an opportunity to prepare the future workforce and to help shape the education of the students in our community.

Everybody Benefits

For students and educators these partnerships: 
  • Provide an answer to the question, "Why do I have to learn this?" 
  • Demonstrate the importance of academics in reaching post-high school training, college and career goals; 
  • Help motivate students to learn by demonstrating the tangible applications of classroom lessons and bringing their curriculum to life; 
  • Give students an opportunity to experience a variety of workplace environments.
For businesses, these opportunities: 
  • Provide a meaningful connection to students and teachers; 
  • Demonstrate an active commitment to supporting and improving our community; 
  • Help prepare the future workforce.

Making a Connection to Our Schools!

School-Business Partnerships

School-Business Partnerships can be formed between a business and a class, grade, teacher or entire school. Projects are created based on the interests and goals of the business and the school, and offer valuable worksite connections to a curriculum. Some examples include: 
  • a company works with a school to help connect the science curriculum to the technical application in their research and design department; 
  • a publisher works with a class to develop a newsletter; 
  • a scientist uses her professional contacts to assists a teacher in arranging speakers for a science class; 
  • a retail business owner helps a class understand the working of the business and may help to set up a business in the school.

School to Business Partnership

Job shadowing

Job shadowing is an opportunity for students to visit places of work and experience career fields that interest them. An individual student may shadow an adult at work for one day; a group of students may visit a company and meet with several adults or departments, and may also receive a comprehensive overview and tour of the company, focusing on several areas. By preparing before and following up after their experiences, students gain a better understanding of themselves, their career goals and the realities of the work world through this program. Job shadowing sites include companies of all sizes and in all industries. 


Internships are unpaid or paid work experience which allows a student to learn about a career field and involves a regular commitment of time over a fixed period. Internships can vary in duration and schedule. They can be once a week after school for ten weeks or for a semester.

The Senior Internship is a voluntary three-week supervised work experience during the last three weeks of the senior year. Internship sponsors provide a worksite for a high school junior or senior; provide a project or set of experiences so students can earn academic credit; help students understand what skills, training and personal qualities are required in their field.
"The community benefits, but we benefit even more because we see what other people are going through and learn things they can't teach us in school"
– ABRHS Junior

Community Service Learning

Community Service Learning involves students in projects that benefit the community while reinforcing learning that is part of the school curriculum. Teachers work with the sponsoring business or organization to develop a project that meets these goals. CSL partners are non-profit organizations, government agencies, schools and business. Activities can involve a small group of students or a whole class. Both one-time and continuing projects are possible. CSL benefits everyone by bringing community resources into school and taking students into the community.

Field Trips and Speakers

Both of these options provide educational benefits for a group of students and an opportunity for a business to be involved in the career development of young people: 
  • Field Trips bring groups of students to the worksite to see environments that help them understand how academics are applied in the work world. 
  • Speakers bring the world of work into the classroom by sharing their experiences with students. Presentations can focus on career information or on connections between the speaker's work and what the students are learning.

About the School-Business Partnership Committee

The Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce School-Business Partnership Committee provides opportunities for students, teachers, schools and businesses to enhance and extend student learning through sharing expertise, programs and resources for the good of the community.
"The program you offer to students at ABRHS is an opportunity from which they will derive valuable experience. It's great to teach them calculus, history, English, etc., but if they do not know how to develop a work ethic and a business sense, they will never be able to succeed in a corporate environment."
– Maureen Noviello, Asst. Vice President, Human Resources, Leominster Credit Union

Some current projects:
  • Workers' Credit Union school bank branch 
  • School Business Partnership account 
  • School Business Partnership web site 
  • Resources for Senior Seminar, Work Study, MAP and SWAP programs 
  • Job Shadowing and Career Speakers Program 
  • Field Trips and Guest Speakers 
  • Practice Interviews and funding for Academic Decathlon, Senior Seminar and SWAP programs 
  • Support for specific school-community acitivities such as Martin Luther King Awards Night and Community Service Day

Faculty Externship Program

The Faculty Externship Program brings real world experiences into a classroom by placing a teachers as an extern in a business. Externships offer school staff an opportunity to develop an understanding of the current workplace by observing employees who are using academic skills in a business environment. Examples of successful externship sites have been 3Com Corporation, Educators Publishing Service, The Haartz Corporation, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Surf Control (formerly The Learning Company), and Parametic Technology.

For further information, please contact:

Genevieve Hammond, School Business Liaison,
Senior Career Activities Coordinator
ABRHS Counseling Department
(978) 264-4700 x3498
ABRHS Senior Internship Program Website