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Estimated Completion Time

18 Weeks


Starting your first “real” job can be intimidating. But when you know what to expect and learn how to be successful, you’ll feel confident about the hiring process and prepared to put yourself out there! Discover how to build a well-rounded set of employability and personal leadership skills that allow you to guide your own career. Learn how to communicate with others, take initiative, set goals, problem-solve, research different career options, and envision your own personal career path. Get ready to create a powerful launching pad that will help you blast off into a great first job experience!

During this course, you will learn career-related skills and earn a badge for this accomplishment. A badge is a digital certification of your career-related learning that you can share on social media and higher education platforms, or with colleges, potential employers, peers, and colleagues. Select this link to learn more about badges.

Course Requirements

Required Materials:

  • A video recording device (laptop camera, cell phone, tablet, etc.)
  • Accounting ledger page
  • Deposit and withdrawal slips
  • Online file storage (e.g., Google Drive)
  • Word processing software
  • Digital design program (e.g., Canva)
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Slide presentation software


Major Topics and Concepts

Unit 1: Know Yourself

  1. Develop the practice of self-awareness
  2. Identify your core values
  3. Describe your personality
  4. Recognize specific employability skills you’ve developed and want to develop
  5. Articulate the factors that motivate you

Unit 2: From Classroom to Employment

  1. Describe how learning on the job differs from learning in the classroom
  2. Differentiate among different kinds of organizations and organizational structures
  3. Conduct online research to identify employment opportunities
  4. Create a complete, well-organized resume
  5. Craft a cover letter tailored to the target employer
  6. Prepare for a job interview

Unit 3: Workplace Behavior

  1. Describe appropriate grooming and attire for the workplace
  2. Recognize the behaviors that will help you integrate into the workplace
  3. Identify key behaviors your manager will appreciate
  4. Articulate the role of the human resources department in your working life
  5. Document workplace behaviors in a career portfolio

Unit 4: Communicating at Work

  1. Facilitate effective conversations via face-to-face interactions and phone calls
  2. Follow an efficient process for producing workplace writing
  3. Compose two common kinds of workplace writing: email messages and reports
  4. Create and deliver professional presentations

Unit 5: Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

  1. Describe the characteristics of a healthy, productive team
  2. Explain the value of diversity and ways to foster it
  3. Identify practices for managing team conflict
  4. Describe the behaviors you need to participate effectively in meetings
  5. Recognize common technology tools used for collaborating

Unit 6: Managing Your Self, Time and Money

  1. Define self-leadership and its benefits
  2. Use time management techniques to optimize your personal productivity
  3. Manage your day-to-day personal finances
  4. Engage in long-term personal financial planning

Unit 7: Protecting Yourself and Your Employer

  1. Define workplace ethics
  2. Describe common ethical issues that show up in the workplace
  3. Recognize safety regulations that apply to various kinds of work
  4. Apply ethical reasoning to solve behavioral issues in the workplace

Unit 8: Bringing It All Together – Becoming A Leader

  1. Describe the critical thinking process
  2. Solve problems using a scientific, data-driven approach
  3. Cultivate a growth mindset
  4. Develop a career plan




Experiences allow students to demonstrate mastery of competencies through various real-world or hands-on learning opportunities, such as travel, service learning, independent study, internships or entrepreneurship. During an experience, students elect to meet all or some of the competencies in a particular competency group (ie. English 1, Economics, Biology, …), as an alternative to taking the course. Each experience is customized to the student’s opportunity. The student works with a VLACS instructor to determine deliverables that demonstrate mastery of the competencies and secures an outside expert to enrich the experience.

In Experiences students will:

  1. Meet weekly with their instructor.
  2. Secure an outside expert.
  3. Plan the experience prior to completing it. Credit is not awarded for experiences completed prior to enrollment and completion of the planning process.
  4. For many experiences, spend time at a business or other location.

Types of Experiences:

Independent Study

By signing up for an independent study, you will be able to direct your own learning, identifying what you want to learn and how you will demonstrate that you have mastered your learning objectives.


Internships allow you to gain professional experience, make connections, and become familiar with a career while working on site with mentors and professionals in a career of your interest.


While travel can be a great experience for learning life lessons, it is also an excellent way to acquire the knowledge and skills that allow you to demonstrate mastery in a variety of competencies. The world is a classroom and travel experiences will connect your real-world experiences to the learning that you seek.

Service Learning

In-Service Learning, you collaborate with members of your community to address issues to improve your community. You will connect your service with discipline-specific content so that learning can take place through problem solving and collaboration.


Starting your own business is a great way to learn. This type of experience allows you to engage in an entrepreneurial experience and receive credit for competencies you master through this experience.

Credits .5


  • Self-Awareness and Employment Preparation
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of the connection between self-awareness and workplace success by reflecting on their values, personality, skills, and motives as they investigate careers and prepare for employment.
  • Workplace Behavior
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of workplace behavior by describing expectations for appearance and integration within the work environment, and explaining practices for effective communication.
  • Workplace Dynamics
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of workplace dynamics by explaining team diversity, collaborative practices and various ethical and safety issues.
  • Personal Development in the Workplace
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of personal development in the workplace by explaining personal management and leadership skills, and the development of a growth mindset.



Attend a virtual open house

We offer regular online open house webinars where VLACS staff members provide parents and students with an overview of our programs and answer questions about online learning.