Work-Based Learning 101 Introduction

Real-world work experiences provide youth with disabilities with an opportunity to develop not only work skills, but also an understanding of the workplace. Varied and multiple exposures to the world of work can help shape students’ future work goals and habits.

Work-based learning experiences link school-based instruction with community-based employment and are part of the career preparation that allows students with disabilities to achieve their desired goals.

Work experience is the strongest indicator of successful work after school – IT LEADS TO OUTCOMES!

Work-based learning covers a variety of structured workplace skill building and career exploration experiences ranging from business tours to semester long internships and contribute to successful transition and ultimately, success in adult employment.

Do you work with youth with disabilities to prepare them for employment? If so, this module is for you! Specifically, these stakeholders who support young adults for employment and careers can benefit:

Educators:  special education, career & tech education, business, paraprofessionals, vocational coordinators
Vocational rehabilitation personnel
Employment services providers: job coaches, job developers, etc.


The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition has developed this module to provide you with information and materials so you can make a difference!


Learning Objectives

Session 1: Intro to Work-Based Learning

  • Define work-based learning (WBL)
  • Identify the characteristics & benefits of WBL
  • Describe different types of WBL experiences

Session 2: Developing a Work-Based Learning Program

  • Identify the guiding principles in creating an effective WBL program
  • Understand essential components of a WBL program
  • Evaluate various components of a WBL program
  • Obtain resources that can be used to enhance a WBL program

Session 3: Developing Partnerships

  • Understand roles and benefits of different WBL partnerships
  • Learn and apply strategies for developing partnerships with businesses for WBL
  • Implement 3 strategies for sustaining partnerships with businesses