Work-Based Learning

Work-Based Learning (WBL) is a unique academic program in which students integrate classroom learning with real world work experience. Students work in a business related to their program of study. Learning occurs outside the formal classroom environment at a supervised work assignment. Students, in conjunction with their worksite supervisor and faculty coordinator, develop measurable learning objectives that will be completed on the job.

The work enables students to gain practical experience with business, industry, and community agency worksites. The work assignment may be paid or unpaid. The student employee is awarded academic credit for the learning that occurs on the job.

Work-Based Learning is based on the theory that learning does not confine itself just to the classroom. It is called work-based learning because educators and employers work together to prepare a real-world educational program for students.

  • To provide students with on-the-job, curriculum-related learning experience
  • To support career development and clarify career interests
  • To assist in the development of career goals
  • Increase the marketability of students after graduation
  • To provide services to the local business community, such as recruitment and temporary employment
  • To create closer ties between the business community and the education community
  • To provide an enriched learning experience and expand laboratory experiences
  • To ensure that colleges are staying in pace with employer training and education needs

Students benefit most from Work-Based Learning if they have a background in their chosen program of study. It is the expectation that all students have a base knowledge of their program of study prior to enrolling in Work-Based Learning. Programs currently approved for Work-Based Learning include:

  • Advertising and Graphic Design
  • Applied Animal Science Technology
  • Automotive Systems Technology
  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Horticulture Technology
  • Human Services Technology
  • Information Technology

To be eligible to participate in Work-Based Learning, students must meet the following minimum criteria:

  1. Must be enrolled in a curriculum area that includes Work-Based Learning for academic credit (requirement or an elective).
  2. Must have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher (if a current student) or have the recommendation of the lead instructor of the student’s program of study.
  3. Must be willing to participate at a Work-Based Learning worksite a minimum of 160 clock hours.
  4. Must have or be willing to obtain a work experience job that is related to the program of study in which they are enrolled.
  5. Must have approval of the Work-Based Learning Director.

Students who are currently employed may seek to have their present employment approved for work-based learning. For current employment to be approved, the student’s job must be related to the program of study. The student’s employer must agree to new learning opportunities at work. The employer must agree to provide necessary information, including completing forms and evaluations, in order to determine progress of the student during the semester.

Interested students may download an informational application. Students must also complete a transcript release form. Once these two forms are complete, the student should call and set up an appointment with the Work-Based Learning office. This initial visit should occur in the semester prior to the planned work experience in order to develop an appropriate worksite and review current employment situations. If you are currently employed, your employer must be approved as a Work-Based Learning site prior to the start of the semester. A good time to talk with the Work-Based Learning office is during pre-registration. The phone number is 336-838-6173.

Prior to registering for Work-Based Learning courses (designated WBL in college catalog), students must contact the WBL director. WBL informational applications must be completed and reviewed/approved by the WBL director prior to registration.

Credit hour(s) for Work-Based Learning (WBL) are determined by hours worked per semester; a one-hour WBL credit has a 160-hour minimum requirement (average of 10 hours per week); a two-hour WBL credit has a 320-hour minimum requirement (average of 20 hours per week). Grades are awarded by the WBL instructor based on the student’s specific learning objectives, evaluations, and reports submitted by the student and the employer. Completeness and timeliness of reports, forms, and evaluations will be considered in the awarding of grades.

Contact Information

Image of Beth Foster
Beth Foster, BS
Director of Work Based Learning
Phone: 336-838-6173
bafoster167@wilkescc.edu