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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


The following are resources developed for instructors who are leading Work-Based Learning programs in their schools. This library of resources is currently under construction (11/30/22).​

  • Work-Based Learning Overview​
  • Building Strategic Partnerships with Business and Community Partners​
  • Introduction to Developing a Work-Based Learning Program​
  • Spanning the Work-Based Learning Continuum​
  • Maintaining and Leveraging Business and Community Partnerships​
  • Student Assessment and Work-Based Learning​
  • Administrative and Legal Considerations Around Work-Based Learning​
  • Financial Considerations around Work-Based Learning​

 Work-Based Learning 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.

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