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Making Work-Based Learning Work for You Featured

Work-based learning (WBL), which provides students with valuable opportunities to use technical skills and knowledge in real-life work experiences, has always played an important role in CTE. With the passage of Perkins V, the attention paid to WBL has grown exponentially.  

According to Perkins V, WBL includes any sustained interactions with business professionals in real workplace settings as well as simulated environments in the classroom, provided that those experiences are aligned to curriculum and instruction. Options include internships, job shadowing, mentorships, guest speakers, and more. 

How can you be sure that your students are engaged in quality WBL experiences? How can you nurture and grow those experiences? To learn more about how to make WBL a success at your school, we recommend that you check out the following resources: 

  • FHI 360’s comprehensive Work-Based Learning Manual, which addresses topics such as guest speakers, workplace tours, college and career fairs, and informational interviews 
  • The Iowa Department of Education’s Work-Based Learning web page, containing a WBL guide, employer checklist, and resources for WBL experiences such as internships and school-based enterprises  
  • The Tennessee Department of Education’s WBL Toolbox, including an implementation guide, FAQs, and a wealth of supplemental materials (e.g., employer recruitment letter, elevator pitch activity, WBL portfolio rubric) 
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s Work-Based Learning Tool Kit, which guides state and local administrators through creating a WBL strategy, engaging employers, and scaling effective programs 

More WBL resources can be found in the State's Connection portal, which is accessible to teachers in our member states