Work-Based Learning

What is work-based learning? Work-based learning involves the application of academic, technical, or employability skills in a work setting. It can take a variety of forms and involve different levels of intensity. In some forms, participants are fully integrated into the workplace, gaining not only technical skills but also professionalism and employability skills. Paid apprenticeships, summer youth employment programs, paid and unpaid internships, and on-the-job training provided under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act are all considered work-based learning. Less intensive forms of work-based learning involve job shadowing, work site visits, or simulated work environments used in many technical training programs.

Who provides work-based learning? Employers in partnership with the public workforce system or education and training providers offer work-based learning. 

Why is work-based learning important? Work-based learning offers the opportunity for exposure to work and hands-on learning that might not be available in classroom training. The idea is that training delivered at the job site, often at the expense of the employer, may be better aligned with current skill requirements. Participants in work-based learning are also socialized into a real work environment, which reinforces employability skills that are difficult to teach in a classroom.