Work-Based Learning in Rockingham County Public Schools

Work-Based Learning is school-coordinated workplace experiences that are; related to students’ career goals and/or interests, connected to a course, and performed in partnership with local businesses and organizations.

Experiences reinforce Virginia’s 5 C’s—critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creative thinking, and citizenship—by allowing students to apply these skills in a real-world business or service-oriented work environment.

  • Collaboration: Work with community members, peers, and mentors
  • Communication: Write and present proposals; make requests and get permissions; publicize and present final project
  • Citizenship: Understand laws and regulations; seek to improve the community; increase community awareness
  • Creativity: Publicize/advertise project; solve problems; present findings
  • Critical Thinking: Develop a project to meet a community need or solve a community problem
Types of Work-Based Learning Opportunities
  1. Job Shadowing: Job shadowing places students in workplaces to interact with and observe one or more employees. Based on a student’s interest in a specific career and/or organization, a job shadowing experience can help the student learn more about the nature of the job and the work environment as well as the education and training required to succeed. No additional high school credit is earned in job shadowing, but it is a great first step in working with employers and your CTE teacher. Sixth through twelfth graders are eligible to complete job shadowing.

  2. Service Learning Project: Service learning goes beyond students participating in community service. Service learning experiences enable students to learn and apply academic, social, and personal skills to improve the community, continue individual growth, and develop a lifelong ethic of service. No additional high school credit is earned in completing a Service Learning Project. Students work with their CTE teachers to complete the project. Sixth through twelfth graders are eligible to complete a project. All CTE classes provide service learning opportunities through career and technical student organizations.

  3. Mentorship: Mentorship is a WBL experience that consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of students as they learn about a particular industry and workplace. The student is paired with a community professional who has a recognized record of achievement and first-hand experience in the occupational field or career cluster of the student's choice. The mentor becomes a source of guidance, motivation, wisdom, teaching, role modeling, and support. The knowledge, advice, and resources shared depend on the format and goals of the mentoring relationship. Mentor support can provide a wide range of personal and professional benefits, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the workplace. Mentorship requires student preparation, including career exploration, prior to the experience. Students complete the mentorship through the course of the school year. Students can gain 0.5 credits for 140 hours or more of work. An independent study project can be completed as part of the 140-hour minimum. Sixth through twelfth graders are eligible to complete a mentorship.

  4. Externship: An externship is a short WBL experience, of a minimum duration of 40 hours, where the student is paired with a working professional to observe and get a preview of the day-to-day activities needed for a career. Based on students’ interests in specific careers and/or organizations, externship experiences can help students learn more about the nature of various jobs and work environments as well as education and training required to succeed. Externships are extended job shadowing opportunities with the addition of a 40-hour time minimum. No extra high school credit is awarded with an externship. Sixth through twelfth graders are eligible to complete an externship.

  5. School Based Enterprise: A school-based enterprise is an ongoing, student-managed, entrepreneurial operation within the school setting. It provides goods or services that meet the needs of the school’s target markets (i.e., students, teachers, administrators, parents/guardians, community members, community organizations/businesses). School-based enterprises replicate the workplace to provide career insights and relevant experiences for the student. School-based enterprises are cooperative, with management decisions made by students. The Work Based Learning coordinator’s (teacher’s) role involves the integration of technical content and skills. There is no additional CTE course credit awarded in a school-based enterprise; however, a profit could be made by a student who created the enterprise. Sixth through twelfth graders are eligible to complete this enterprise.

  6. Internship: Internship is a WBL experience that places the student in a real workplace environment to develop and practice career-related knowledge and skills for a specific career field related to the student’s career interests, abilities, and goals. Internships may be paid or unpaid. It is connected to classroom learning and accompanied by structured reflection activities. Students participating in internships are guided by a formal, written training plan that defines specific academic and workplace skills to be mastered. One additional graduation credit can be earned with a minimum of 70 hours per 9 weeks and/or a total of 280 hours in a school year. Only 11th and 12th graders are eligible for internships.

  7. Entrepreneurship: During an entrepreneurship WBL experience, the student plans, implements, operates, and assumes financial risks in a business that produces goods or delivers services. The entrepreneurship student owns the business assets and keeps financial records to determine return on investments. An entrepreneurship experience provides students the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to become established in their own business or to gain employment. Students work out their entrepreneurship through their CTE teachers. Students receive 1 additional graduation credit with a minimum of 280 total hours dedicated to the entrepreneurship. Students can earn the profit on their entrepreneurship as well. Only 11th and 12th graders are eligible for entrepreneurships.

  8. Clinical Experience: Clinical experience allows health and medical science students to integrate knowledge acquired in the classroom with clinical practice. Students are placed in a variety of healthcare settings and observe patients at different stages of medical practice so students may better understand the scope of the healthcare profession. There is no additional graduation credit earned and no pay is awarded. The various medical fields include: dental careers, emergency medical technician/emergency medical responder (EMT/EMR), medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, nurse aide, patient care technician, pharmacy technician, physical/occupational therapy, practical nursing, sports medicine, radiologic technology, sterile processing technologist, surgical technologist and vision care technician. Only 11th and 12th graders are eligible for clinical experience.

  9. Cooperative Education: Cooperative education is a WBL experience that connects CTE classroom instruction with paid workplace experience directly related to the student’s interests, abilities, and goals. Cooperative education combines a rigorous and relevant curriculum with an occupational specialty. Students participating in cooperative education are guided by a formal, written training plan that defines specific academic and workplace skills to be mastered. Three total credits can be earned. One credit is for the classroom portion. One is for the coop job and meeting the requirements of the Career Strategies Course. One is for the records kept in the working of the job. Students are also paid a wage by the company in which they work. A minimum of 70 hours per nine-weeks and/or 280 for the school year must be completed in order to receive 3 credits for the course. Only juniors and seniors can participate in this program. Students are allowed to work outside the school for ½ of the school day and include summer hours as well.

  10. Apprenticeship: All Youth Registered Apprenticeships (YRAs) should be undertaken in consultation with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industries (VDOLI) Division of Registered Apprenticeship. YRA is a career preparation WBL method that integrates CTE curriculum and On-the-Job Training (OJT) to help students gain employability and occupational skills. CTE programs provide Related Technical Instruction (RTI) based on the Virginia Department of Education’s statewide curriculum framework guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Licensed and endorsed CTE teachers and journeyworker experts instruct youth apprentices. Students working 280 hours or more during the school year will receive one additional credit toward graduation. Apprentices are also paid by the businesses in which they work. Apprenticeships are only granted to 11th and 12th graders.

  11. Supervised Agricultural Experience-Immersion (SAE): The Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is a required, graded component of every agricultural education course. The National FFA Organization’s Federal Charter Amendments Act provides the framework for the three-component model used in all agricultural education programs: classroom and laboratory instruction, the SAE program, and student leadership through the FFA. This agricultural experience rewards 1 additional credit in an Ag. Class if the SAE is 280 hours or more in total for the academic year. The SAE may be paid depending on the type of activity. Students in grades 9-12 can receive the extra credit hour for the SAE-Immersion.

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