Work-based Learning Experiences Program
“Pennsylvania’s economic future depends on having a well-educated and skilled workforce prepared to meet the current and projected demands of a global, knowledge-based 21st century economy. To help meet this challenge, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is committed to ensuring all students in the commonwealth have access to high-quality learning opportunities that prepare them for meaningful engagement in postsecondary education, in workforce training, in career pathways, and as responsible, involved citizens. Regardless of their individual postsecondary plans, all students should graduate from high school with the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed to succeed in the workforce.
Industry-based learning experiences vary in structure, scope, and intensity with the common goal of providing students with the opportunity to connect academic and technical skills to real-world settings. Examples of industry-based learning include site visits, job shadowing, paid and unpaid internships, job training, job shadowing, mentorships, service learning, apprenticeships, or paid employment, among others.
High-quality industry-based learning experiences that are aligned to challenging academic and technical instruction have demonstrated positive short- and long-term impacts on students, helping them develop and enhance their career awareness, skills, and abilities while preparing for meaningful careers. Research also suggests that work-based learning experiences are a strong predictor of adult employment success for students with disabilities.
As part of efforts to improve alignment between education and the needs of business and industry, PDE has worked with partners to highlight recommended strategies and considerations for local education agencies (LEAs) – including school districts, charter schools, and career and technical centers (CTCs) – looking to start or expand work-based learning programs for students. The Department has also provided assistance to LEAs to ensure that these initiatives and activities are aligned to Pennsylvania’s Career Education and Work (CEW) Standards, established as required education for all students by the State Board of Education in 2006.”