Work-Based Learning Opportunities
Work-based learning is a partnership that links school, community, and business/industry to provide a real-world work environment in which students have the opportunity to apply and enhance the knowledge and skills obtained in the career and technical (CTE) classroom. The goal of work-based learning is to prepare students for jobs in the area through service learning, internships, and co-op work experiences. Other partnership activities include guest speakers, worksite tours, job shadows, and project work for actual clients/customers.
Work experiences provide opportunities for students to demonstrate and develop technical and employability skills at a worksite. Work experience helps a student develop employability skills, including initiative, interpersonal relations, and the attitudes and behaviors necessary for success in the workplace and community.
The internship is related to the student’s CTE program of study with the primary goal to develop career relevancy and competence. Internships typically take place for 2-3 hours a day, up to 4 days a week, during the regular CTE class time; however, it may take place outside of school hours depending on employer needs and student availability. An internship can last from several weeks to several months and are unpaid. Students are covered by the BOCES liability insurance policy during their internships.
Internships are supported by training plans developed cooperatively by the employer, certified work-based learning (WBL) coordinator, CTE instructor, and student. There is ongoing communication between the job mentor, CTE instructor, and the WBL coordinator concerning the student’s performance and needs. The job supervisor is an employed adult and serves as a mentor, directing the student to observe and participate in a variety of activities related to their curriculum and the job.
Student and employer safety is a critical component of the internship program. To be eligible for participation, a student must have satisfactory attendance, grades, and skills; demonstrate consistent, safe work habits; display proper work attitudes; and receive teacher recommendation. Students age 16-17 must have a current work permit (working papers). Some employers will require an interview and industry specific criteria.
The goal is for all CTE students to participate in this valuable work experience program. Our WBL coach works with students who don’t meet eligibility criteria to resolve issues and to become qualified to partake. A short-term or trial basis internship may be arranged. Real-world work experience, relevance, and employment opportunities often motivate even the most discouraged student.
Cooperative (Co-Op) Work Experience
The co-op work experience functions the same as the internship program except that it is a paid work experience. The student is hired by the business, but remains covered under the BOCES liability insurance. As an employee, the student often works additional hours outside of the CTE class time and has the opportunity to further develop and become a productive and valuable employee.
CTE students are often hired for part-time, summer, or full-time jobs as a direct result of their performance during their internships.
Benefits to Students
- Brings relevance to classroom learning
- Gain experience to determine interests and abilities in the field
- Apply and expand technical skills
- Develop positive work habits and attitudes
- Network with professionals in the field to assist with future job search
- Builds resume through relevant work experience
- Gain exposure to earn employment recommendations or offers
- Earn money through co-op experience
- Bridges the gap between school and the world of work
Benefits to Employers
- Preview a pool of skilled and motivated potential future employees
- Reduce recruitment and training costs
- Offers low-cost training and development programs
- Provides opportunities to communicate business and training needs to school
- Improve employee retention
- Provides a community service
Benefits to Community
- Assists young people in becoming productive citizens
- Increases the stability and well-being of the community workforce and economy
- Increases skilled and reliable workers who remain local after graduation
- Improves employee morale and motivation by becoming mentors and teachers
- Provides leadership in the education of the local workforce
Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that engages students in service through mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships with approved community partners. These opportunities enrich the learning experience, integrate reflection, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Service learning differs from volunteer experience in that the work experience is related to the students’ career field of study. Service activities are embedded within CTE classes and are meant to help student achieve specific learning goals.
To coordinate an in-classroom presentation, visit to your workplace, or service learning projects, contact:
Garrette J. Weiss
Business Education Liaison
P: 315.963.4264 | C: 315.956.0625
For more information regarding internship or co-op work experience, contact:
Work-Based Learning Coordinator
P: 315.963.4419 | C: 315.529.5140
Contact our work-based learning coach:
Work-Based Learning Coach