Educators and Administrators

Work-Based Learning Resource Center

An adult role in a global economy requires that young people become autonomous decision-makers and problem-solvers who can reflect on their learning and can self correct.

— Nancy Hoffman, Schooling in the Workplace, Harvard Education Press, 2011 p.11

Work-based learning (WBL) is a progressive, multi-year sequence of instructional activities that extends students’ learning from school into a real-world, work-related context. These experiences allow students to build a bridge from adolescence to adulthood 


WBL activities can occur in any grade - at any school; it is a core strategy in Career and Technical Education (CTE). Below are just a few examples of different types WBL that prepare your students to fully participate outside the classroom:

  • guest speakers
  • career days 
  • field trips 
  • worksite visits
  • job shadowing 
  • off-site projects (outside of the classroom) 
  • school-based enterprises
  • civics and business simulations
  • student competitions
  • internships

Scope and Sequence

A well-planned WBL sequence supports students in achieving the DOE’s College and Career Benchmarks. Click here for a sample scope and sequence from 7th – 12th grade.


Quality Work-Based Learning gives students opportunities to receive authentic feedback from adults in a particular industry and guides them to:

  • identify and develop their strengths – the intersection of their interests and their abilities 
  • map a set of accessible career pathways where there is a demand for workers with their strengths
  • develop a portfolio of accomplishments that show they play a role within a larger organization and demonstrate, for themselves, a degree of mastery in authentic settings (including professional credentials and content for resumes and application essays, etc.) 
  • build relationships with adults outside the classroom – with peers and elders, mentors and sponsors who can provide a bridge into postsecondary working communities and guide students to a meaningful definition of college and career success  

Questions? Contact the Work-Based Learning Resource Center: