Work-Based Learning - Work Experience Activity Guide

  • Work Experience Fact Sheet
  • Coordinator Checklist
  • Required Documents
  • Implementation Tools

Work Experience Fact Sheet

What is Work Experience?

A Work Experience is a Career Preparation activity in which a student is at a worksite doing real work for pay. The student is held to the same expectations as all employees and is evaluated by the worksite supervisor based on workplace expectations and performance.


Work experiences range from regular, paid employment in summer and/or year-round jobs to subsidized employment and learning-rich work experience. They include both found jobs and those arranged by the school or program. There are also a range of education and training linked work experience program types defined at the state and federal levels (See State and Federal Work Experience Fact Sheet).

Work Experiences are designed to:

  • Promote hands-on, real-world experience in a field of interest.
  • Provide productive value for the employer.
  • Offer opportunities to develop, practice and demonstrate employability skills.
  • Build occupational knowledge.
  • Create awareness of the education needed to be successful in the industry.

Work Experiences are structured to:

  • Enable students to practice and prepare for work, potentially in an area of career interest.
  • Help students develop the Top 10 Core Employability Skills.
  • Build knowledge about the education and training needed for a particular job, career path and advancement in the industry.

Work Experiences are supported by:

  • Classroom preparation, including research on the industry and participating businesses.
  • Employer orientation and support.
  • Opportunities to reflect upon the experience verbally and in writing.

Work Experiences are connected to:

  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • Future work-based learning activities.
  • The student’s next steps.

Work experiences are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all students engaged in career-related programs or course of study in New York City schools.

Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Coordinators* to ensure successful Work Experiences


  • Define the work experience program structure (time-frame, expectations, host expectations, and staff support, for example).
  • Identify all interested teachers and help them plan for the work experience activity.
  • Prepare teachers and encourage them to support and leverage the work experience. Share the Teacher Tip Sheet.
  • Work with teachers to create a list of interested and qualified students.
  • Select and refer appropriate candidates for interviews, matched to employer/supervisor specifications.
  • Provide supervisor with Employer Work Experience Tip Sheet.
  • Determine the worksite supervisor’s preferred form and frequency of contact.
  • Distribute and collect appropriate forms.
  • Identify learning objectives and complete the WBL Plan.
  • Address any transportation or safety gear needs.


  • If possible, meet with students and worksite supervisors at their workplaces and observe workplace activities. Make sure these visits are pre-arranged with the host and don’t disrupt workflow.
  • Regularly assess student progress and impact of the experience.


  • Have the worksite supervisor complete the WSS Evaluation and review with the student.
  • Document the work experience. Get feedback from employers and teachers and summarize result using the WBL Activity Evaluation.
  • Help students update their Resume’ and Employability Skills Profile and think about any next steps they would like to take to further their career goals.
  • Work with teachers to coordinate “go deeper” activities to connect the work experience to the classroom and their career goals.
  • Take pictures from the work experience and provide them to the company for use on their website or newsletter. Ensure you have signed releases for all photos.
  • Publicize the work experience and the business that participated by placing a story in the local newspaper or posting on the school or agency webpage.

  • Consider other potential public relations benefits and opportunities.

*In New York State, this includes certified work-based learning coordinators and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students.

Sample Timeline

  • Beginning of the School Year: Identify interested teachers and brainstorm business partners who could participate.
  • Two months in advance: Invite business partners to list opportunities.
  • One month in advance: Screen students to employer specifications and arrange for interviews with the employer.
  • One week in advance: Confirm selection and make sure the student has proper documentation.
  • During Work Experience: Visit worksite, if possible, and observe workplace activities. Provide support and address any issues that may arise.
  • After Work Experience: Send thank-you notes to employers and supervisors and ensure student