Work-Based Learning

  • foods science students cooking Work-based learning experiences are a competitive advantage for students in a Career and Technical Education program. Students who participate in these learning experiences are better prepared to be career-focused and globally competitive.

    The range of experiences available can be illustrated as a spectrum - from career exploration to in-depth work with local professionals.

    • Career exploration examples: attending class field trips and job shadowing 
    • In-depth work examples:  internships and apprenticeships 

    Work-based learning experiences provide an integration of core and technical instruction, which enhances the overall curriculum, increases learning, and blends academic rigor with professional skills to provide students a strong competitive advantage.

    Real work setting

    One essential aspect of the work-based learning experience is to place the student in a real work setting away from the school. Therefore, the NC State Board of Education requires that work-based learning experiences occur at a location other than the student's school


    The Career Development Coordinator (CDC) at each high school oversees the Work-Based Learning program at his/her school. It is his/her responsibility to ensure that all students/parents/business contacts involved with work-based learning experiences understand the correct procedures, are using the correct forms, and are submitting student information on a timely basis.
    We have liability insurance coverage on all students who participate in officially-recognized work-based learning activities. Students must be enrolled before they go to the work-based learning experience in order for this insurance to be in effect.


    The internship experience has a prerequisite of one Career and Technical education credit.
    If the student is employed, employment rules must be followed. Youth Workers (under 18 years old) Information about youth employment certificates (worker's permit) for underage workers can be found on the North Carolina Department of Labor website.
    The Career Development Coordinator at each high school may be qualified to process youth employment certificates. Child Labor information can be found on the United States Department of Labor web page.


    • Apprenticeship is one of the oldest methods of job training. This method is an industry-driven education and career-training program based on recognized industry standards. It is a means by which employers address current and projected employment needs. This program is a partnership between business, industry, education, and North Carolina Department of Labor (DOL), along with parents and youth apprentices.
    • There is no course prerequisite for this work-based learning experience. Some courses, such as drafting, might be recommended if the job requires blueprint reading.

    Some apprenticeship characteristics are:

    • Use of a skilled journeyman to help instruct the apprentice.
    • Combination of classroom-related instruction with structured work-based learning
    • Employment by an employer who has a direct need for trainees in the occupation. * Incremental pay scale that increases with skill and knowledge development
    • Training of a highly skilled technician or craft person
    • Appropriate for occupations that do not require a college degree but require a high level of skill and knowledge
    • Registration by the North Carolina Department of Labor, Apprenticeship and Training Division. The Division provides free assistance to the employer and to the apprentice and certifies both the training program and the newly trained journeyman.



    High school apprenticeship hours and experience can be counted toward an adult apprenticeship leading to a completed journeyman certificate. High school apprenticeships differ from regular apprenticeships. The primary difference is that the student may start at an earlier age (16 vs.18), and the student may operate equipment that regular workers may not operate at that age.


    Business sponsors

    Students or potential business sponsors interested in learning more about the apprenticeship program should contact the Career Development Coordinator (CDC) at their high school.



    • An internship is an experience in which a high school student takes a responsible role as a worker in a company or organization and then reflects on the experience. The Internship Program is a supplement to formal classroom instruction. Its intent is to significantly add to the vitality of the instructional program and to impact the courses that a student has taken or will take.
    • The course prerequisite for internship is to have one successful completion of a Career and Technical Education high school course.


    Expected Outcomes

    • Increased self-esteem and personal growth derived from successfully meeting new interpersonal and intellectual challenges
    • Acquired new skills and knowledge.
    • Increased exposure to various work roles and career choices.
    • Increased understanding of the relationship between school-based learning and the work experience.
    • Increased opportunities for high school students to explore areas of academic career, or service interests
    • Development of positive relationships between the internship program, the school, and the community



    • Develop good work habits.
    • Experience personal growth.
    • Strengthen communication skills.
    • Gain an awareness of the community's vast resources and the world of work.


    A student must complete 150 hours (1 credit) to complete an internship. Internships are scheduled during either the 1st or 7th period to permit the Career Development Coordinator time to visit the work site. Credit and grades are assigned after the student completes all requirements and submits all work to the CDC. Students or potential business sponsors interested in learning more about the internship program should contact the Career Development Coordinator at their high school.


  • Whether you are a participating employer, educator, or volunteer host, participating in job shadowing is easy and fun. Job shadowing immerses each student in the world of work, where they can get first-hand information about job skills and careers. By bringing students into the workplace to see a marketing professional, a health care technician, or other professional at work, very real and tangible options come alive for them. Job shadowing provides exciting reasons why students should stay in school. It creates a critical link between education and success. Job shadowing is a popular work based learning activity because it provides students with opportunities to gather information on a wide variety of career possibilities before deciding where they want to focus their attention.

    Job shadows involve student visits to a variety of work places during which time students observe and ask questions of individual workers. Job shadows are designed so students play an active role in learning. Classroom exercises conducted prior to and following the job shadow experience are designed to help students connect their experience to their course work and relate the visits directly to career pathways, related skill requirements, and postsecondary educational options.




    • Demonstrate the connections between academics and careers and helps students learn by making their class work more relevant
    • Builds community partnerships between schools and businesses that enhance the educational experience of all students.
    • Introduces students to the requirements of professions and industries to help them prepare to join the workforce of the 21st century
    • Encourages an ongoing relationship between young people and caring adults.