Work-based learning experiences allow workers to earn wages while learning skills needed by employers. This strategy can benefit job seekers of all ages, from students exploring career possibilities to adult workers eager to gain news skills to meet the workforce requirements of companies in high-demand fields.
At its best, work-based learning integrates classroom learning with practical application and provides paths to educational and career advancement. Jobs for the Future offers seven principles for effective work-based learning:
- Supports entry and advancement in a career track
- Provides meaningful job tasks that build career skills and knowledge
- Offers compensation
- Identifies target skills and how gains will be validated
- Rewards skill development
- Supports college entry, persistence, and completion
- Provides comprehensive student supports
Strategies to Provide Work-Based Learning
Work-based learning opportunities can be coordinated in collaboration with private, for-profit, public, or nonprofit businesses in your community and/or through web-based resources. The learning experience must be provided in an integrated setting in the community. Where the learning experience is paid, payment must be at or above minimum wage.
Opportunities for work-based learning include:
- Pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs
- Paid and non-paid work
- Career Pathways
- Customized training
- Career mentorship
Recommended Resources from TACQE and Partners
Use these resources to learn how VR professionals can use work-based learning to improve quality employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
- Youth Apprenticeships in Rehabilitation Counseling: Engaging Students and Youth with Disabilities to Initiate a Career Path – TACQE U
Explore how youth apprenticeships can be used by VR practitioners in the VR process and how they interact with Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) and school-to-work transition programs.
- Career Pathways Overview – TACQE U
Learn the integrated pathway model and six key elements of career pathways, review essential components of comprehensive career and technical education, and get key career pathway tools and resources to continue learning and practicing.
- Employer Practices on Customized Training for Persons with Disabilities – TACQE U
Learn about the effects of chronic unemployment for people with disabilities and how customized training is a useful strategy to help persons with disabilities get into the workforce and improve vocational outcomes.
- Resource Guide: Apprenticeships/Pre-Apprenticeships – TACQE
Apprenticeship programs can offer opportunities for learning new skills, getting a job, and a finding a career path. Get an overview of apprenticeships and resources to learn more.
- Career Pathways: Key Elements and Essential Components – TACQE
Learn how career pathways can meet the needs of both employers and job seekers with disabilities.
- Customized Training: Benefits and Partnerships – TACQE
Learn how customized training programs can become a major gateway for people with disabilities to obtain and retain high-quality, well-paid jobs in their communities.
- WINTAC (Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center)
WINTAC provides evidence-based information on how work-based learning experiences can be used to effectively implement the requirements of WIOA.
- Promising Practices: Work-Based Learning Experiences