Empowering Learners and Building a Stronger Workforce, Fostering Economic Growth

Work-Based Learning

Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning links education to the workforce, and includes apprenticeships, internships, or career technical education (CTE) classes. This partnership benefits students as they finish their education and transition from a classroom to a career.

Through work-based learning, students develop employability skills such as cooperation, understanding, and motivation. These skills will help students as they search for post-graduation employment opportunities. Students recieve a head start in developing career awareness and work-related habits. (Why Does Employer Engagement Matter?, pg. 7). Because each student can discover their own areas of interest, work-based learning encourages them to finish school.

Employers benefit through hiring individuals that are prepared for a workplace environment and require less training. According to a survey by the Urban Institute, 80% of businesses that sponsor apprenticeship programs found that the program was effective. The same survey found that 94% of these businesses would recommend apprenticeship programs to other companies (Wilson and Mehta, 2017, pg. 3). Also, work-based learning allows individuals to find careers that best fit their interest, which will improve worker engagement and efficiency. As of 2017, thirty-five U.S. states have programs which support work-based learning (Wilson and Mehta, 2017, pg. 3). Work-based learning allows communities to come together and increases productivity for the local economy.  Because communities will have a trained, available workforce, the unemployment rate will decrease.

Hands-on learning is a major component of preparing students for their future careers. Although some training is required for any job, work-based learning programs offer skills development and learning that is more effective than other programs. The positive results of work-based learning are seen through engaged students, productive industries, and efficient communities.


Kettle, J. (October 2013). Flexible Pedagogies: employer engagement and work-based learning. The Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/ee_wbl_report.pdf  

Why Does Employer Engagement Matter? (2014). Career Development Institute. Retrieved from http://www.thecdi.net/write/Why_Does_Employer_Engagement_Matter_A_Toolkit_for_Managing_Employer_Activities_in_Schools_and_Colleges.pdf  

Wilson, B. and Mehta, S. (April 2017). Work-based Learning Policy. National Skills Coalition. Retrieved from https://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/WBL-Learning-Policy-50-State-Scan.pdf