What is Work-Based Learning?
Work-based learning (WBL) provides students with a continuum of career related experiences that support their career goals and prepares them for education and employment beyond high school. In partnership with businesses and community organizations, WBL extends the classroom into the workplace, transforming acquired knowledge and abilities into the skills that employers are seeking for their workforce.
Work-based learning consists of a range of options, including visits to businesses, job-shadowing, situational assessments, paid and nonpaid community work experiences, and internships. A solid work experience program will provide the student with the following:
- A range of experiences to help students make informed choices about their career options
- A structured experience with links to classroom instruction
- The opportunity to choose and structure work experiences to further career goals
- Ongoing assessment, feedback, and support
- Clear and measureable outcomes
Fair Labor Standards Act
Schools and employers who engage in training for youth with disabilities outside of the classroom must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Participants will be youth with physical and/or mental disabilities for whom competitive employment at or above the minimum wage level is not immediately obtainable and who, because of their disability, will need intensive, ongoing support to perform in a work setting.
- Community Work Experience will be a component of the individualized education programs (IEPs) developed and designed for the benefit of each student.
- There has been no displacement of employees, vacant positions have not been filled, employees have not been relieved of assigned duties, and the students are not performing services that are of benefit to the business.
- The students are under continued and direct supervision by either representatives of the school or by employees of the business. The student receives ongoing instruction and close supervision at the worksite during the entire experience, resulting in any tasks the student performs being offset by the burden to the employer of providing ongoing training and supervision.
- Students are not entitled to wages for the time spent in the work experience and students are not entitled to employment at the business at the conclusion of their work experience.
Benefits to Employers
- Expand potential employment pool with no-cost training
- Enhance diversity of the workforce
- Provide opportunities for staff mentoring of students
- Influence curriculum for students learning about the world of work
- Strengthen ties to the community
- Increase awareness and understanding about individuals with disabilities in the community
Career and Transition Services works with over 350 employers to provide students with community work experiences as part of their transition related instruction. Some of our business partners include:
- Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority
- Fairfax County Government
- Marriott Hotels/Conference Centers
- Northern Virginia Community College
- Inova Health System
- Social Security Administration
- Greenspring Village
- Shoppers Food Warehouse
- Papa John’s Pizza
- Hilton Hotels and Resorts
- Silver Diner
- University Mall Theater
- General Dynamics
- Michaels Craft Stores