Work-Based Learning

What is Work-Based Learning?

Work-based learning (WBL) is a coordinated educational strategy that provides students with a continuum of career related experiences to support their career goals and prepare them for education and employment beyond high school.

WBL supports Student Success by providing students with meaningful learning experiences and multiple pathways to a high school diploma.

FCPS students participate in different methods of Work-Based Learning for career awareness, career exploration, and career preparation experiences. These methods may include the following types of WBL experiences:

Career Awarenessicon of a magnifying lens over a lightbulb

  • Expose student to a variety of careers and career-related training.
  • Develop an understanding of personal interests and talents relevant to career goals.

Guest Speakers are experienced professionals who enhance learning and broaden student awareness of career options and the education and training necessary for the profession.

Work Based Tours are guided opportunities to increase student choice through observations in the workplace, listening to a host, and thinking about career options.

College and Career Fairs are career awareness activities that expose students to a wide range of careers and higher education programs.

Informational Interviews are structured interactions between a student and a professional usually by phone or video conference.

Career Explorationicon of a spaceship flying over clouds

  • Explore career pathways and workplace readiness skills.
  • Develop career interests.

Internships are the school-coordinated placement of students in a work environment (paid or unpaid), including Community Work Experiences (CWE), that are written into IEPs for students with disabilities. Students develop and practice career-related knowledge and skills for a specific career path.

Service Learning is a teaching method that involves students in authentic service to their communities. It makes connections between the classroom and the community and provides structured time for students to reflect on their experiences.

Externships provides the opportunity to be paired with professionals to explore careers and the workplace and to learn about the education and training required to succeed in a specific career. Since no work is delegated, this opportunity is an extended job shadowing experience.

Job Shadowing is a short-term career experience that places an individual student in a workplace to interact with one or more work-based representatives who host the student.

Career Mentorship is a structured, school-coordinated method that enables the student to learn about the industry and the workplace from a worker who has a record of achievement in that field. It requires student preparation and career exploration prior to the experience.

Career Preparationicon of a pole with a directional sign

  • Engage in authentic experiences.
  • Develop skills for successful postsecondary education and employment.

School-based Enterprise is an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods or services to meet the needs of the market. Student Enterprises are managed and operated by students as hands-on learning opportunities and are tied to an academic course of study directly related to that career field.

Cooperative Education combines Career and Technical Education classroom instruction with paid, planned, and supervised employment that is directly related to a specific career pathway and the student’s plan of study.

Clinical Experience is an unpaid educational experience in health services. This provides the student with an opportunity to integrate knowledge acquired in the classroom with clinical practice of the fundamental skills, behaviors, and attitudes for professional competence.

Registered Apprenticeship is a method that provides adult learners with paid opportunities to develop job skills and reinforce academic instruction under the guidance of a supervisor in a specific occupational area. This results in the attainment of a nationally recognized credential.

Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) integrates school-based and work-based learning with the skilled mentorship of teachers and journeyworker experts to develop employability and occupational skills.

Entrepreneurships provide students with opportunities to plan, implement, operate, and assume financial risks in businesses that produce goods or deliver services. This results in students developing the necessary skills to become established in their own businesses or to gain employment.

Fairfax County Public Schools seeks partners to support Work Based Learning