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​Work-based learning (WBL) provides students with the opportunity to engage and interact with industry experts (employers, postsecondary institutions), while learning to demonstrate essential employability and technical skills necessary for today’s workforce.

WBL is defined in Perkins V legislation as “sustained interactions with industry or community professionals in real workplace settings, to the extent practicable, or simulated environments at an educational institution that foster in-depth, firsthand engagement with the tasks required in a given career field, that are aligned to curriculum and instruction.”​​

Work-Based Learning ManualThe Work-Based Learning Manual​PDF Document provides guidance for creating and improving work-based learning opportunities for K-12 students.  Activities are designed to introduce Career Exploration as soon as possible, build increasingly interactive experiences, and maximize student exposure to careers and work-based learning opportunities by the time they complete secondary education.​​​​

The Work-Based Learning Continuum

  • Career Awareness
  • Career Exploration
  • Team-Based Challenge
  • Career Development Experience
  • Pre-apprenticeship/ Youth Apprenticeship
  • Apprenticeship
  • Increasing Intensity of Employer Engagement

 Work-Based Learning Coordinator Resources

The following are resources developed for instructors who are leading Work-Based Learning programs in their schools. 

 WBL Webinars

 WBL Resources

ISBE has created resources to support educators and school districts in offering work-based learning for their students that is connected to their programs of study.

  • AASA Youth Apprenticeships Resources
    Explore resources developed by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, highlighting school administrator youth apprenticeship success stories and strategies.
  • Career and Technical Student Organizations
    Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) enhance student learning through contextual instruction, leadership and personal development, applied learning, and real world application.
  • Career Development Experience Toolkit
    This toolkit focuses on the “Career Development Experience” as articulated in the PWR Act. The Career Development Experience can refer to a broad array of experiential learning.
  • Spanning the Continuum: Incorporating Work-Based Learning into CTE ProgramsYouTube Video Link
    This video presentation will explore options on how to incorporate the full continuum of work-based learning into your CTE programs as you learn about the new Workplace Experience courses that ISBE has introduced.
  • Work-based Learning Database​Excel Document
  • Work-Based Learning VideosYouTube Video Link
    These videos will allow students to learn different occupations within the various career pathway endorsement areas, gain knowledge about workplace skills, and receive advice from these professionals.
  • Youth Apprenticeships Give Students Brighter FuturesPDF Document
    The goal of AASA’s (The School Superintendents Association) youth apprenticeship toolkit is to encourage the creation of school and business partnerships as a viable and expansive pathway to success in school, career, and work. This toolkit provides resources, videos, and case studies to help school administrators advocate for and build apprenticeship programs.​​​​​​​​​​

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