This initiative is part of the 2018-19 WISE Accelerator Cohort.
About the initiative
The insight that interest-driven internships are an ideal vehicle to prepare young people for a dynamic 21st century economy inspired the creation of ImBlaze. ImBlaze makes it possible for educators to organize an easy, efficient and elegant system that gets students out of the classroom and into real-world internships based on their interests. ImBlaze serves several functions— technology system to support internship programs at scale; guide for educators as they design and scaffold student learning experiences; management tool to help administrators monitor implementation; and tool for assessing internship quality and impact through both cognitive and non-cognitive measures.
Context and Issue
The rate of technological innovation has resulted in rapid changes in career opportunities for young people. Educators, policymakers, community and business leaders are calling for improved preparation of young people to thrive in 21st century careers. There is unique power in situated learning experiences outside of the classroom with mentors at businesses and organizations who have expertise in emerging fields that students want to explore. This is particularly true for students from low-income communities. The relationships that students forge with mentors through workplace-based internships have profoundly positive influence on students’ long-term success to and through post-secondary options and careers.
The Solution and Impact
ImBlaze meets educators’ and employers’ needs for an efficient internship management tool. Its structure and functionality infuse personalization and the integrated development of students’ academic skills, soft skills and social capital at every stage. Students in secondary schools and at college/university level benefit in many ways from interest-driven internships at all levels. Interest-based internship experiences, and the relationships that students develop in professional networks create real connections for students. This increases student’s professional networks and helps students to more effectively select post-secondary pathways, including college/university tracks that help them secure employment opportunities in a dynamic 21st century economy.
ImBlaze aims to identify areas of approach and infrastructure that are ripe for organizational development, technological augmentation, and strategic investment. Also, it is developing bridges for students moving beyond secondary schools into post-secondary training and college/university pathways. In addition, it hopes to launch key improvements including teacher mobile apps and region-level functionality with multisite data sharing and integration to enable more rapid and effective implementation at scale.