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Real World Learning

Learning, For Real
Why it Matters

WATCH: “Kauffman Sketchbook – ‘Real World Learning Land'” | 2:47

Every student deserves to discover and pursue their real-world potential. Real World Learning (RWL) is a Kansas City community initiative to help prepare our region, students, and employers for the future.

In a Real World Learning community, learners are prepared for work, school, and life after high school graduation. By gaining immersive experiences across a multitude of interests, industries, and employers through real-world projects and internships, learners gain the skills to navigate their future. Mutually, employers participate to help share and prepare today’s students to become the talent of tomorrow.

The Student Experience

All students graduate with a Market Value Asset (MVA)

RWL experiences accumulate and prepare students to earn ‘Market Value Assets’.  The term Market Value Asset, or MVA, was coined by PREP-KC – a local education intermediary with a long history of working with schools and under-resourced students. Their experience has shown that students attaining MVAs in high school are much more likely to persist and succeed in work and learning beyond graduation.

Work Experiences

Dual-College Credit

Industry-Recognized Credentials

Entrepreneurial Experiences

Shared Vision & Collaboration

By 2030

All high school students across our region graduate with market value assets and a diploma, preparing them for future work and learning.

To create a community powered by real world learning where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential, and employers engage and inspire the creators of tomorrow.

The Kauffman Foundation is partnering with stakeholders across the greater Kansas City region to support systemic integration of MVAs into our schools. The Foundation’s early research converged with observations of local employers and workforce groups that RWL must become an integral part of our education system for students to leave future-ready.

Kansas City is a diverse community of communities. As a region, our goal is to activate a broad network of people committed to “make learning real” for students in their community. Common language, tools, and assets are being developed to support quality interactions between educators, employers, and our community. Data will be collected, studied, and shared to inform our efforts and track progress toward our goal.

How is this work happening?

District and charter leadership across our region has been leading the change. They are involving their students, teachers, parents, employers, and civic leaders in designing and implementing a plan to ensure high school students graduate with a MVA alongside their diploma.

This map highlights 30+ districts currently engaged in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

  • Cohort 1 (green): Received grants in the summer of 2019 and began implementing their plans in the 2020/21 school year.
  • Cohort 2 (blue): Received grants in the summer of 2020 and will begin implementing their plans in the 2021/22 school year.
  • Cohort 3 (yellow): Received their RWL Design and Plan grants in 2021.


School Districts


High Schools



Real World Learning Stories