Alyssa lagerwall

GFW High School is focused on making sure all students are career and college ready. This means that all students have the knowledge, skills, and competencies to successfully pursue a degree, diploma, certificate, or industry recognized credential and employment when they graduate. Thanks to our Work-Based Learning program, students can take that to the next level by spending part of their day working at a real job!

Work-Based Learning (WBL) is formalized learning with instruction occurring at the school and at a community-based setting with an employer. This is a real partnership between the school and our business community that allows students to build career awareness, explore potential careers, and develop critical thinking, decision-making and problem solving skills.

Senior Alyssa Lagerwall is taking advantage of the program in her new role at United Farmers Cooperative (UFC) in Winthrop. Since starting at UFC, she has gotten experience in a variety of departments including agronomy, the shop, and the energy department as she looks forward to more rotations coming up. Before she started on site, she worked with WBL Coordinator Deb Kammerlander in the classroom to complete career assessments, get resources from different programs, and earn important certifications including the OSHA 10 Safety Certification.

“I really wanted to explore different careers in the field of agriculture,” said Lagerwall. “I enjoyed getting the different credentials since it’s good to have industry certificates too. I’m not sure what I want to do after high school so this is a great opportunity to learn while also earning a paycheck.”

WBL takes place during the last two hours of the school day with students spending 120 hours documented per credit by the end of the semester. Students work with Mrs. Kammerlander to complete an individual training plan and receive a performance evaluation from their employer. 

Getting into the WBL program is very similar to a job interview process and once she was approved for the program, Alyssa then interviewed with UFC, providing another opportunity for real-world experience. When she was informed that she got the job, she knew she would get a lot of opportunities to see different work environments in action.

“It’s so important for students to be able to learn on the job and see what’s out there,” said Kammerlander. “UFC has been an amazing partner and they believe so much in building the future of our local workforce so they wanted Alyssa to have experience in multiple departments.”

The feedback from UFC has been great and they are supportive of a growing WBL program that can impact more students. 

“I want more kids to be able to participate so we can grow our connections with employers and help our students develop important work and life skills,” said Kammerlander. “I highly recommend the program because I am learning a lot and it’s helping me to find a career that I want to pursue,” added Lagerwall. “I was hesitant at first but it’s really fun and a great option for those students who don’t want to just sit all day!”