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Work Based Learning

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Work Based Learning Experience:

“WBL is the planned and supervised connection of classroom experiences with the expectations and realities of work. WBL experiences provide all students the opportunity to develop and apply knowledge, skills, and employability attitudes and behaviors leading to better informed career choices and productive employment.” --Iowa Department of Education

  • Credit earned for the completion of the WBL experience will be determined according to the criteria in the course manual  (link to course manual)

Define Types of Experiences:

Job Shadow: Job shadowing is an informal type of work experience where a student accompanies an experienced worker as they perform the targeted job. It is usually short term (a couple hours to a few days at most) and unpaid.

Practicum/Internship: An internship is a hands-on experience, for professional careers, where students apply the principles they've learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. Internships should be designed to meet both the needs of the organization and learning goals of the student. These positions may be paid or unpaid and are usually temporary. The duration may be anywhere from nine weeks to two years, but typically last the course of a semester. Some internships have the opportunity for the student to attain at least one industry-recognized certificate/credential.

Pre-Apprenticeship: Pre-apprenticeship programs are sets of strategies designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship.  These programs have a documented partnership with at least one Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor and together they expand the participant's career pathway opportunities with industry-based training coupled with classroom instruction.

Apprenticeship: Apprenticeships prepare workers to meet the business demand of a highly-skilled workforce. It is an employer-driven, “learn-while-you-earn” model that combines on-the-job training, provided by the employer that hires the apprentice, with job-related classroom instruction tied to the attainment of national skills standards. The model also involves progressive increases in an apprentice’s skills and wages.


Registered Apprenticeship: Similar to an apprenticeship except the U.S. Department of Labor works with State Apprenticeship Agencies to administer the program nationally. The State Apprenticeships agencies are responsible for:

  • Registering apprenticeship programs that meet federal and state standards

  • Protecting the safety and welfare of apprentices

  • Issuing nationally-recognized and portable credentials to apprentices

WBL Experiences:

Independent WBL Experience: Students working in the community to advance their universal construct skills. The WBL experience is initiated by the student.   Students work with employer to provide evidence of skills learned using approved evaluation tool.

WBL Coordinators:

WBL Coordinators create placements and experiences that are valuable and meaningful for students. WBL coordinators make regular visits to student work sites and conference with supervisors at regular intervals to check and monitor students work performance.

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