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Work-Based Learning Experiences

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Work-based Learning Experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, experiences outside of the traditional school setting, and/or internships, which can include paid and/or unpaid internships:


(WBLEs may include in-school or after school opportunities, or experience outside the traditional school setting (including internships), that is provided in an integrated environment to the maximum extent possible)


Work Based Learning is an educational approach or instructional methodology that uses the workplace or real work to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life work activities and future career opportunities. It is essential that direct employer or community involvement be a component of the WBL to ensure in-depth student engagement. These opportunities are meant to engage, motivate and augment the learning process. These WBL opportunities can be done in conjunction with private, for-profit, public or nonprofit businesses in your community and/or through web-based resources. In addition, work-based learning requires in-depth engagement of youth and an evaluation of acquired work relevant skills to build, embark upon, educate and train on a continuous basis.​


The work-based learning experience must be provided in a competitive integrated employment setting within in the private, for-profit, public or nonprofit businesses in your community. Where paid WBL experiences are provided, the wages are to be paid at no less than minimum wage.

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Benefits of WBLE:

  • Observation of individuals performing tasks on the job

  • Understanding of employer and employee expectations on the job

  • Opportunity to perform job tasks before possibly receiving a job offer

  • Development of desired work behaviors and attitudes on the job

  • Assess and identify areas of strengths and areas needing improvement

  • Build a network of contacts for future job opportunities.

  • Awareness of job opportunities after high school

  • Improve decision making skills for future job offers

Work-based learning experiences, may include:


  • Job Shadowing: Job shadowing is a popular on-the-job learning, career development, and leadership development intervention. Essentially, job shadowing involves working with another employee who might have a different job in hand, might have something to teach, or can help the person shadowing him or her to learn new aspects related to the job, organization, certain behaviors or competencies.

  • Career Mentorship: A mentor is one who teaches or provides guidance and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.

  • Career Related Competitions: Career-related student competitions are work-based learning activities that require students to demonstrate mastery of career-related skills through presentations or competitions that are judged by professionals. Presentations demonstrate culminations of student effort over time, often involving teamwork. Career technical student organizations sponsor such competitions in the fields of agriculture, business, health, hospitality and industrial technology.

  • Informational Interviews: An informational interview is an informal conversation with someone working in a career area/job that interests you, who will give you information and advice. It is an effective research tool in addition to reading books, exploring the Internet and examining job descriptions. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings.

  • Volunteering: Volunteering is when a person donates his/her time or efforts for a cause or organization without being paid. It may be a one-time only or an on-going commitment. It should directly or indirectly benefit people outside the family or household or else benefit a cause, even though the person volunteering normally benefits as well. Most volunteer sites are non-profit organizations.

  • Workplace Tours/ Field Trips: A group excursion for the purpose of first-hand observation to specific work sites. Students learn about the business, meet employees, ask questions and observe work in progress.

  • Internships (Paid Or UnPaid): An internship is a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment, and it can be paid or unpaid. An internship is an opportunity to develop specific job related skills before you are qualified for an actual job.


The Department of Labor's website offers guidance and information on their "employment laws assistance for workers and small business - elaws section on volunteers. The following link provides helpful information on the Fair Labor Standards Act as it pertains to volunteers: Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the "for-profit" private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek.


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