Business Partnerships (Work-Based Learning)

Fairfax County Public Schools’ Career and Transition Services (CTS) partnership allows community organizations and the business community to contribute to workforce development through work-based learning (WBL).

Fairfax County Public Schools’ Career and Transition Services (CTS) partners with community organizations and the business community to provide valuable work-based learning (WBL) opportunities which:

  • increase student success
  • develop marketable
  • employability skills
  • provides direction after graduation

CTS promotes and coordinates a full continuum of work-based learning activities including:

  • career fairs
  • business tours
  • guest speakers
  • mentoring events
  • community work experiences
  • competitive employment

Each FCPS secondary school employs one or two Employment and Transition Representatives (ETRs) to assist in the coordination of work-based learning for their students. Last year, our work included:

  • wide-ranging business tours
  • career and job fairs
  • guest speakers
  • job shadowing experiences
  • mentoring events
  • supported part and full-time jobs
  • volunteer opportunities

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How can businesses contribute?

Have you ever considered being a guest speaker in a classroom? Or hosting a student or teacher in your workplace?  Students want information about your training, profession, and industry. Our community partners offer opportunities in a variety of work settings.

Our business partners in action:

  • Target’s Regional Human Resources Manager, Guest Speaker
  • Business tour at Hybla Valley Costco
  • Fairfax County Teen Job Fairs at Chantilly, Mount Vernon, Oakton, South County West Springfield, and Woodson High Schools   (photos?)
  • The Annual Booz Allen Hamilton Disability Mentoring Day
  • (link Supporting Students with Disabilities)
  • The Annual Fairfax County Government Disability Mentoring Day
  • (link Madeline’s Mentoring Day)
  • SGS Mentoring Event for West Springfield High School
  • US Navy Chief, informational interview
  • Herndon Animal Hospital’s Dr. May, Dr. Galati and Dr. Giaimuccio
  • 350 partners in community work experiences that support approximately 1,200 students
  • 22 CVS stores partnering with CTS for community work experiences

Career and Transition Services works with over 350 area employers as part of our transition-related instruction. We build new partnerships each year but rely on a long list of established allies.  Some have remained invested for decades including the United States Geological Survey and Dewberry. Our community partners offer a wide range of training opportunities in a many work setting.  Some of our business partners include:

  • Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority
  • Fairfax County Government
  • Marriott Conference Center
  • 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
  • Panera
  • University Mall Theater
  • Sodexo
  • General Dynamics
  • JCPenney
  • CVS
  • Michaels Craft Stores

View our comprehensive list of 2019-20 Community Work Experience Partners (PDF)

Paid and Non-Paid Community Work Experience

Community work experiences help students build lifelong:

  • skills
  • relationships
  • confidence

Students finish their work experiences with a better understanding of the workforce and expectations.  Community Work Experience guidelines clearly outline the responsibilities of all parties. These were developed with the guidance of the US Departments of Labor and Education and the Fair Labor Standards Act 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.

Learn more by reading the Department of Labor Fact Sheet (PDF).

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Student Benefits from Work-Based Learning

There are many benefits for students who participate in Work-Based Learning, including:

  • Establish a connection between school and work
  • Finding school and career pathways
  • Recognizing interests and talents
  • Understanding skills for success in the workplace
  • Building confidence and self-advocacy
  • Learning life skills
  • Spotting current job market trends
  • Making connections with professionals

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Business Partner Benefits from Work-Based Learning

  • There are many benefits for our Business Partners who work with us, including:
  • Encourage and engage youth with disabilities
  • Expand potential pool of qualified applicants and employees with no-cost on-the-job training
  • Enhance diversity of your workforce and improve employee morale
  • Influence curriculum for students learning about the world of work in your industry
  • Strengthen ties to the community and expand customer base
  • Increase awareness and understanding about individuals with disabilities in your community

Contact Sue Eaton (571-423-4596) or follow us @FCPS_CTS on Twitter, to learn more about work-based learning and sponsor a unique learning opportunity for students with disabilities at your workplace.


  • Department of Labor Fact Sheet

    Community Work Experience Guidelines developed with the guidance of the US Departments of Labor and Education and the Fair Labor Standards Act guidelines: