Work-Based Learning

About Work-based Learning

The New York City Department of Education has defined a sequenced continuum of career development activities and experiences for all students that address Career Awareness, Career Exploration, and Career Preparation. This is accomplished through a series of work-based classroom activities, workplace exposures, and community experiences over time. Classroom activities support and provide opportunities to reflect what’s learned in the workplace and community, and workplace learning experiences support the classroom curriculum. In addition, students are supported by and provided role models and guidance from adults in the school and in the workplace. Students are provided experiences that are commensurate with their knowledge, skills and abilities, and designed to support the acquisition of knowledge and skills. These experiences are also compatible with their age and stage of development.

All students are provided with a full range of opportunities throughout their engagement in career-related programs of study with the opportunity to participate in authentic work-based learning experiences at each level of the WBL continuum. Employers and community partners provide WBL opportunities that make sense for their organization, work for the business, and provide direct benefits to the student, the employer and the school.

This toolkit focuses on supporting employer participation in high-quality learning WBL experiences in the workplace or classroom. The following section describes the three levels of the Work-Based Learning component of the continuum.

  • Career Awareness

    Activities designed to promote awareness of careers, workplace norms and employer expectations, as well as personal interests and aptitudes. In the workplace, Career Awareness activities include Career Days, Career Mentoring and Workplace Tours.

    “I understand what’s out there and am discovering the kinds of things I might want to do.”

  • Career Exploration

    Activities designed to promote a deeper understanding of potential careers, and to provide opportunities for an investigation of a particular industry, career or occupation of interest. In the workplace, Career Exploration activities include Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing.

    “I’m interested in this field and am beginning to understand what it’s all about and what I need to do to pursue a career in the industry.”

  • Career Preparation

    Activities designed to provide an in-depth discovery of a particular career and the development of the skills and understanding of the education or training needed in a particular industry or occupation. In the workplace, Career Preparation activities include Mock Interviews, Workplace Challenges, Internships, Work Experience (including Co-Operative Work Experience) and Apprenticeships.

    “I know the kinds of things I want to do and am getting the chance to learn new skills and practice applying those skills”