Benefits of Work-Based Learning

What are the benefits of work-based learning?

Students in career and technical education (CTE) classes are provided with opportunities related to career goals and interests that are integrated with instruction through school-coordinated, work-based learning (WBL) experiences that are performed in partnership with local businesses and organizations.

Work-based learning provides students with opportunities to:

  • Observe, engage, and experience career pathways
  • Connect classroom learning to the real world in business or service-oriented work environments
  • Practice and develop workplace readiness skills outside of the classroom
  • Build a network of industry professionals to support potential future employment opportunities

While many students work during the school year, experiences are also available during the summer months.

Work-Based Learning Aligns with Classroom Instruction

CTE courses are built upon competencies and tasks that students must demonstrate mastery in. All CTE courses include the following competencies directly related to WBL:

  • Identify the types of WBL opportunities.
  • Reflect on lessons learned during the WBL experience.
  • Explore career opportunities related to the WBL experience.
  • Participate in a WBL experience, when appropriate.

Multiple Work-Based Learning Experiences for Students

Prince William County Public Schools proudly offers many of the following WBL experiences recognized by the Virginia Department of Education.

Experience Type Grades Required Hours
Clinical Experience 11-12 Varies by type
Cooperative Education 11-12 280 hours for 1 credit option
Entrepreneurship 11-12 Course duration or 280 hours for 1 credit option
Externship 6-12 40 hours
Internship 11-12 Course duration or 280 hours for 1 credit option
Job Shadowing 6-12 Varies by type
Mentorship 6-12 Course duration or 280 hours for 1 credit option
Registered Apprenticeships 11-12 144 hours related technical instruction per 2,000 hours of on-the-job training
School-Based Enterprise 6-12 Course duration
Service Learning 6-12 Varies by type
Supervised Agricultural Experience 6-12 280 hours for 1 credit option
Youth Registered Apprenticeships 11-12 280 hours for 1 credit option

Career Awareness and Exploration Opportunities

The CTE Department hosts a variety of events throughout the year to provide additional opportunities for career awareness and exploration, and for students to connect with business partners.

  • Career Fairs
  • Employment/Summer Job Fair
  • Instruction 2 Industry Events
  • Signing Day
  • Work-Based Learning Wednesday (*internal messaging)

Learn about upcoming WBL events

Participate in Work-Based Learning Experiences

Add more information on how to register for account...

High school students can search for WBL experiences through Jobready WBL, our online WBL management platform after completing an interest form and submitting their resume for approval. Jobready WBL may include the following WBL experience details:

  • Type of experience
  • Employer
  • Required forms
  • Work logs

For more information, please contact the Work-Based Learning office at

Employers can learn more about posting student opportunities online by visiting our business partner webpage.

Want more information on work-based learning?

Contact a CTE teacher, a college and career counselor, or the Workforce Development Coordinator.