At Norris Academy learning occurs through authentic, open-walled opportunities where learners are engaged in real-world applications related to their interests.  Learning occurs as extensions of academic programming that aligns with future aspirations and work-based learning opportunities that connects learners with practitioners in the field.  Mentors provide close supervision and provide training that is academically oriented to Inspire learners and peak curiosity within a career focus. Learners explore career options through Career Talks, Job Shadows, Virtual and on location field trips and they participate in career related activities to build skills and confidence through meaningful academically oriented training.

Level 1 Mentors

Mentors expose learners to experienced professionals who have been successful in a field of study.  The interactions at this level of engagement provide the learner with an opportunity to seek advice and guidance from an experienced, trusted advisor.

Practitioners may come to Norris, meet virtually with learners to discuss career goals or meet with learners in the community to share personal career experience, answer questions and support the learner in exploring areas of interest.


Examples include:

  • Volunteer Welder or carpenter who comes into Norris.  
  • Software developer located in India who will meet virtually with learners.  
  • Local business owner who gives learners A look at different layers of work and skills needed.

Level 2 Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer opportunities engage the learner in productive ways to give back to the community.  This level of engagement provides the learner an opportunity to know that he has the power and skill to help others.  The goal is for the learner to feel good about his participation and want to continue to give back to offer opportunities for learners to volunteer in the community.  Practitioners support learners as they engage in activities that they find interesting, and provide opportunities to develop learner’s skills.


Examples include:

  • Learners volunteering in:
  • community settings
  • assistant coaches for special olympics
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Fixing up homes of elderly
  • Teaching older non technical people how to use email etc.

Level 3 Job Shadow

Job shadowing is a learning option where learners learn about a career by following a worker through his/her day.  This level of engagement provides learners an exposure to a field of interest to find out if this is a match to his talents and interests and provide learners opportunities to visit in person or connect virtually to learn about the career or field of interest.

Examples include:

  • Touring facilities such as local fabrication shops
  • Touring union halls to see employees involved in trades

Level 4 Internship

Internships are an avenue for learners to explore a career interest further, develop skills, and gain experience. The short-term experiences at this level provide learners an opportunity to learn as much as he can, ask questions and make contacts for future opportunities. The personal connections that are made during internships are crucial elements to prepare learners for future career success.  Employees work directly with the learner on a daily basis and provide supervision of a learner in training. The practitioner plays a significant role in the successful future of the learner by articulating the tasks, jobs, and responsibilities of the learner in training and providing a high level of feedback.

Examples include:

Internship at tech company repairing pcs

Level 5 Employment

Employment opportunities are experiences for learners 14 years or older to work hard and be compensated.  This level of engagement allows learners to see how the employment skills they have attained are rewarded monetarily.  Learners will be accountable to the high standards set by the employer and learn jobs above them and below them on the org chart to explore different options within the field. Practitioners employ learners and engage them in a rigorous feedback model which may include a 360 review.


Examples include:


Working at local places of employment

For more details about internships, externships and other extended learning opportunities for Norris Academy students, contact:

Scott Henderson

Scott Henderson

Employability Specialist

Hometown: Milwaukee

Education: BA – University of Minnesota Twin Cities

On Campus Opportunities (internships)

Service Learning

Off Campus Opportunities (externships)

Academy Competitions

Clubs and Activities

Leadership Council