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Work-based experiences  is an educational strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences where they can apply academic and technical skills and develop employability skills. The concept of work-based learning has been in practice for centuries and is an integral part of the Career and Technical Education system.

Work-based learning experiences occur in a work setting, typically at an employer’s worksite. The work-based learning activities are coordinated with school-based activities in an attempt to show students the “why” of what they are learning. Work-based learning strategies provide career awareness, career exploration opportunities, career planning activities, and help students reach competencies such as positive work attitudes and employability skills.

Benefits for Students
Students benefit from work-based learning through:

  • application of classroom learning (both academic and technical) in real-world setting
  • establishment of a clear connection between school and work
  • assessment of their interests, aptitudes, and abilities while learning about the career possibilities available to them
  • improvement of their postgraduation employment opportunities
  • development and practice of positive work-related habits and attitudes including the ability to think critically, solve problems, work in teams, and resolve issues
  • assessment and understanding of the expectations of the workplace
  • establishment of professional contacts for future employment
  • expansion and refinement of their technical skills
  • participation in authentic, job-related tasks
  • observation of the demeanor and procedures of workplace professionals
  • increased motivation/appreciation for staying in school
  • awareness of postsecondary education opportunities

Benefits for Employers
Employers benefit from work-based learning through:

  • a pool of skilled and motivated potential future employees
  • improved employee retention
  • reduced training/recruitment costs
  • developmental opportunities for a current workforce
  • development of new projects with student assistance
  • involvement in the curriculum development process
  • an opportunity to provide community service

Benefits for Schools
Schools benefit from work-based learning through:

  • expanding the curriculum and learning facilities
  • exposing students to state-of-the-art equipment, technology, and techniques
  • meeting the needs of diverse student populations
  • individualizing instruction for students
  • promoting and fostering faculty interaction with the business community
  • enhancing faculty/staff development efforts
  • making education more relevant and valuable to students
  • increasing student retention rates in schools
  • reducing overcrowding by utilizing off-campus learning sites
  • providing an alternative to building additional classrooms and laboratories to accommodate growth

Benefits for the Community
The community benefits from work-based learning through:

  • creating an environment of collaboration and cooperation among the school, the employers, and the community
  • encouraging respect, tolerance, and understanding among different groups
  • contributing to building a more productive local economy
  • fostering confidence in the school system as practical and beneficial results are observed