High-Quality Work-Based Learning

High-quality work-based learning (HQWBL) experiences related to students’ career interests based on instructional preparation, take place in partnership with local businesses or organizations, and are integrated into career and technical education courses. HQWBL enables students to apply classroom instruction in a real-world work environment. HQWBL promotes the following:

  • Career Awareness
  • Career Exploration
  • Career Preparation

Students enhance their knowledge, skills, and attitudes by participating in supervised, authentic experiences. HQWBL experiences are valuable because they help students develop careers beyond their secondary and postsecondary education.

HQWBL Experience  Suggested Grade Levels Meets Graduation Requirement Description
Job Shadowing  6–12 No Job shadowing places students in workplaces, either in person or virtually, to interact with and observe one or more employees. Job shadowing experiences are sometimes the first opportunities for students to observe the workplace and to interact with employees for more in-depth exposure to both careers and workplaces. Student job shadowing may be in person, virtual, a one-on-one interaction, or a group experience. Students may participate in several job shadowing opportunities, enabling them to compare careers and workplaces of interest.
 Service Learning 9–12 Yes-if completed during grades 9–12 Service learning experiences enable students to learn and apply academic, social, and personal skills to improve the community, continue individual growth, and develop a lifelong ethic of service. Service learning goes beyond students participating in community service. As part of a course, students identify an interest and a community need, develop and complete a service project addressing the community need, complete structured activities before, during, and after the experience, and reflect and self-assess. In order to meet graduation requirements students must complete a training agreement.
 Mentorship 9–12 Yes-if completed during grades 9–12 Mentorship consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of students as they learn about a particular industry and workplace. The student is paired with a community professional who has a recognized record of achievement and first-hand experience in the occupational field or career cluster of the student's choice. The mentor becomes a source of guidance, motivation, wisdom, teaching, role modeling, and support. The knowledge, advice, and resources shared depend on the format and goals of the mentoring relationship. Mentors are encouraged to provide the student with as much hands-on experience as possible and to provide a broad view of the business/industry as well as routine tasks and challenging opportunities. A mentorship may be completed on a one-on-one, or small group basis. In order to meet graduation requirements students must complete 140 hours and a training agreement.
 Externship 9–12 Yes-if completed during grades 9–12 An externship is where the student is paired with a working professional to observe and get a preview of the day-to-day activities needed for a career. Based on students’ interests in specific careers and/or organizations, externship experiences can help students learn more about the nature of various jobs and work environments, as well as education and training required to succeed. An externship is an extended job shadowing experience, designed so students may ask questions, observe, and spend more than a day getting a feel for a workplace.  In order to meet graduation requirements students must complete 40 hours and a training agreement.
 School-Based Enterprise 9–12  Yes-if completed during grades 9–12 A school-based enterprise (SBE) is an ongoing, student-managed, entrepreneurial operation within the school setting and CTE course. It provides goods or services that meet the needs of the school’s target markets (i.e., students, teachers, administrators, parents/guardians, community members, community organizations, businesses) through a school store location, mobile unit and/or website. SBEs replicate the workplace to provide career insights and relevant experiences for the student. School-based enterprises utilize hands-on, project-based learning laboratories, which provide connections to classroom instruction. Students operate and manage the SBE, where they learn and build on leadership, supervision, and management skills.  In order to meet graduation requirements students must complete a training agreement.
 Internship 11–12  Yes  Internship places the student in a real workplace environment. This placement allows the student to develop and practice career-related knowledge and skills for a specific career field related to the student’s career interests, abilities, and goals. Internships may be paid or unpaid, and are connected to classroom learning, and are accompanied by structured reflection activities. Students participating in internships are guided by a formal, written training plan that defines specific academic and workplace skills to be mastered. In order to meet graduation requirements students must complete a minimum of 40 hours.  Students completing 280 hours are eligible for a high school credit. A training agreement and training plan are also required. 
 Entrepreneurship 11–12  Yes  Entrepreneurship allows students to explore concepts from idea inception, business planning, to growing an existing business. The student plans, implements, operates, and assumes financial risks in a business that produces goods or delivers services. The entrepreneurship student owns the business assets and keeps financial records to determine return on investments. An entrepreneurship experience provides students the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to become established in their own business. An integral part of the experience includes the submission of a business plan by the student. Students completing 280 hours are eligible for a high school credit. A training agreement and training plan are also required. 
 Clinical Experience 11–12  Yes  To participate in this HQWBL experience, students must be in the 11th or 12th grade and enrolled in a health and medical science course. Clinical experience allows health and medical science students to integrate knowledge acquired in the classroom with clinical practice. Students are placed in a variety of healthcare settings and observe patients at different stages of medical practice so students may better understand the scope of the healthcare profession. These programs include nurse aide, pharmacy tech, patient care tech, and EMS. The number of hours required for graduation varies depending upon the program. Each program has required paperwork including a training agreement.  
 Youth Registered Apprenticeship  11–12 Yes   All youth registered apprenticeships (YRAs) are implemented in consultation with the Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI) Division of Registered Apprenticeship. YRA integrates CTE curriculum and on-the-job training (OJT) to help students gain employability and occupational skills. CTE programs provide related technical instruction (RTI) based on the Virginia Department of Education’s statewide curriculum framework guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Licensed and endorsed CTE teachers and journey worker experts instruct youth apprentices. Apprentices are simultaneously enrolled in CTE classes to meet high school graduation requirements and receive occupation specific RTI. Additionally, the participating sponsor/employer provides supervision as a skilled mentor.  All required YRA paperwork must be completed. YRA programs are offered at THCTT in HVAC, carpentry, and electricity.
SAE (Immersion)  9–12  Yes   Immersion SAEs allow students to build upon their foundational SAE activities by gaining real-world, hands-on experience within their chosen career path. Students will enhance their agriculture industry knowledge, gain financial independence, management skills, and determine whether their career choice aligns with their interests and abilities, while supporting their agricultural education coursework. Types of immersion SAEs are internship, entrepreneurship, research, school-based enterprise, and service learning. In order to meet graduation requirements, students must meet the minimum hour requirement and complete all necessary paperwork. Experiences with over 280 hours may be eligible for one high school credit.

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