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Work-Based Learning FAQ

Welcome! This FAQ page will address WBL Frequently Asked Questions, including acronyms and terminology, and will be updated as questions are submitted.



CTE – Career and Technical Education

NDE – Nebraska Department of Education

SPED – Special Education

VR – Vocational Rehabilitation

WBL – Work-based Learning

Glossary of Terminology used :

(Listed alphabetically)

Advisory Committee – a group of stakeholders concerned with matters such as curriculum content, equipment, facilities, and placement of students in a variety of workplace experiences, including Work-Based Learning experiences. Potential members of the committee should include individuals from fields outside education and be chosen for their specialized knowledge and/or general standing in the community.

 Apprenticeship – an innovative work-based learning and postsecondary earn-and-learn model in which a student learns a trade by working under a certified expert. The Registered Apprenticeship and Youth Registered Apprenticeship models meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (or federally recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies. They provide on-the-job training while safeguarding the welfare of apprentices.

 Awareness Strategies (Workplace Experiences Continuum) – acquaint students with the world of work and potential career options available. These are usually school-based instructional assignments, but instruction should also encourage students to explore careers in their local and regional communities. Students can also identify career readiness skills needed for work during these awareness activities.

Career-Based Service Learning – combines traditional community service with a structured school- and work-based opportunity to explore a career field, emphasizing the connections between the service experiences, career readiness skill development and academic learning. Students benefit by acquiring career-related skills and knowledge while learning civic responsibility and gaining personal satisfaction. Service learning can be short-term projects and can be individual, team or classroom oriented.

Cooperative Education – a structured component of the Career Education (CE) curriculum that integrates classroom instruction with productive, progressive, supervised, and paid work-based experiences in fields related to the students’ career objectives.  Content is planned planned for students through a cooperative arrangement between the school and employer as a component of work-based learning. Students enrolled in cooperative education programs are required to participate in the class.  Cooperative education must be supervised by a teacher who holds a Nebraska teaching certificate with a Work-Based Learning Endorsement on their teaching certificate.

Education & Training Experience – a redesign of a teacher’s aide program for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the education/training field.  The experience must be conducted in partnership with course work in Education and Training or Early Childhood and supervised by the education & training instructor.

Entrepreneurship – Individual youth entrepreneurship provides an opportunity for a student to establish a business from the initial startup phase through full operation while receiving guidance from a teacher at the school.  This includes beginning with an initial business idea, developing a business plan, actual start up and complete ownership. This activity may be a project for a class or a student organization. The activity is considered a paid experience because the student who actually starts a business will be receiving income from the sale of a product or providing a service. Students assume the risks of creating the entrepreneurial venture in expectation of gaining a profit or further knowledge and skills necessary for success as an entrepreneur.

Exploration Strategies (Workplace Experiences Continuum) – deepen a student’s experience with workplaces through contextual settings. These strategies connect the student with workers and workplaces through carefully designed interactions. At this stage of the continuum, students begin to develop their career readiness skills.

Health Science Clinical – a structured component of the Career and Technical Education Health Science curriculum that provides a supervised experience in an approved setting.  Health Science Clinical is designed to be completed in a hospital, extended care facility, rehabilitation center, medical office, imaging laboratory, or other approved setting(s). The Health Science Clinical standards are identified in the Alabama Course of Study: Career and Technical Education as part of the coursework for Health Science.

Internship – a highly structured, time-limited career preparation activity in which students are placed at a workplace for a defined period of time to participate in and observe work firsthand within a given industry. Internships often allow students to rotate through a number of departments and job functions. Internships are paid work experiences.

Nebraska Workplace Experiences Continuum – illustrates how Workplace Experiences become more focused as a student progresses through their education. Students gain a better understanding of their talents, strengths and interests; learn what postsecondary education is necessary for their career choice; and practice the career readiness and technical skills vital for entering the career of their choice. Postsecondary education is any education after high school, which includes 2- and 4-year colleges, on-the-job training, and short-term training to acquire needed skills.

Pre-apprenticeship – a program designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in Registered Apprenticeship programs. These programs have a documented partnership with at least one Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor and together, they expand the participant’s career pathway opportunities with industry-based training coupled with classroom instruction.

Rule 47 Career Academy (Nebraska Career Academy Programs) – in 2012, the Nebraska Unicameral passed legislation requiring the Nebraska Department of Education to establish quality standards and operational guidelines for career academy programs in Nebraska secondary schools. The intent is to ensure quality career academy programs across the state and to establish an evaluative process to measure effectiveness of career academies. For more information, please visit the Nebraska Career Academy web page.

School-based Enterprise – a simulated or actual business usually conducted on the school site as component of a CTE course.  Students create and operate an economically viable venture that replicates a specific business or industry and generates revenue for the CTSO or school.  School-based enterprises are activities through which students produce or provide goods or services for sale or for use by people other than themselves.

Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) – provides students individualized opportunities to learn and develop real-world skills outside of the classroom beyond the school day. The SAE includes multiple components and requirements. For more information, please visit the Nebraska CTE Supervised Agricultural Experience web page.

Work-Based Learning (Workplace Experiences Continuum) –  a planned program of meaningful experiences related to the career interests of learners that enable them to acquire knowledge and skills in a real or simulated work setting. It requires strong partnerships between schools, colleges, and local employers. Work-Based Learning is learning through work, not simply learning about work.

Work-Based Learning Coordinator – combines and coordinates efforts of many individuals, assuring that work-based learning experiences effectively and efficiently help students develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and work habits so they can move successfully into the world of work. Work-Based Learning Coordinators will have successfully completed the Work-based Learning Supplemental Endorsement. The functions and responsibilities of the WBL Coordinator include program planning, development, and evaluation; related-class instruction; on-the-job instruction and coordination; guidance and advice; program administration and management; and community and public relations.

 Workplace Experiences – an educational strategy that provides students a setting where they can enhance their learning, explore career options, and demonstrate their academic, technical, and career readiness skills in authentic work settings. Workplace Experiences are not extracurricular but rather expanded learning opportunities central to the student’s personal and professional development. These experiences must be integrated into the curricular offerings and assessed accordingly.

Worksite Supervisor – an adult employee or volunteer of the worksite responsible for overseeing the work based learning experience and acting as liaison between the worksite and school district.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: The question of granting credit is one of local control.  We have specific course codes for work experience courses and experiences under CTE and Special Education. Coding to CTE WBL must be tied to a CTE WBL program/CTE program of study.  We do have the Other Work-Based Learning Class and Other Work-Based Learning Experience codes but they still indicate,  “This course must be a part of a Work-based Learning Program.”

A: The WBL course codes can be found in the document, “CTE Course Codes & Clearing Endorsements” (Formerly called Appendix D) and is available on the 2020-2021 CTE Course Standards and Programs of Study web page. The WBL codes are listed together, under the heading, Career Education Foundational and Specialty.

A: Broadly, WBL should meet the following standards of quality:

Rigorous: Skill-based, and tied to measurable outcomes

Relevant: Connected to a student’s interests and to the real world of work

Reflective: Engages the student in reflection and analysis

Interactive: Providing multiple and extended opportunities for students to interact with industry professionals

Integrated: Connected with the student’s school-based curriculum and for academic credit

Note: More specific standards for WBL activities are being developed.

A: The document Work-Based Learning Guidelines for COVID-19, as well as other guidance for supporting your students during a pandemic can be found on the Launch Nebraska website.

A: In addition to the usual benefits of community engagement, WBL decreases the skills gap between employee and job requirements, addresses labor pool demands and increases the skill level of potential employees. Employers can reduce turnover of entry-level employees through the hiring of Work-Based Learning graduates.

A:  WBL opportunities help connect student learners with employers to prepare them for success in an ever-changing workplace.

WBL helps student learners:

  • Strengthen academic, technical, and career readiness (employability) skills
  • Explore career options
  • Enhance personal finance knowledge and skills
  • Foster positive relationships with adults
  • Observe all aspects of a company’s operation
  • Develop an awareness of the requirements of careers so they can effectively plan postsecondary and career pursuits

A:  Some child labor law information, as well as links to other state and federal resources can be found on the Child Labor Laws page of our Workplace Experiences website.

A:  Registered Apprenticeships are innovative work-based learning and post-secondary earn-and- learn models that meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (or federally recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies.  Registered Apprenticeship training is distinguished from other types of workplace training by several factors:

  1. Participants who are newly hired (or already employed) earn wages from employers during training;
  2. Programs must meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (or federally recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies);
  3. Programs provide on-the-job learning and job-related technical instruction;
  4. On-the-job learning is conducted in the work setting under the direction of one or more of the employer’s personnel; and
  5. Training results in an industry-recognized credential

A: The six career fields represent broad sectors of the job market on which students may choose to focus.

Each career field is composed of career clusters. The clusters are more specific segments of the labor market. Each cluster is a grouping of careers that focus on similar subjects or similar skills. A basic understanding and exploration of each of the clusters will provide students with a solid foundation for career decision-making to conceptualize the entire world of work.   For more details, please review the Nebraska Career & Technical Education Model infographic, which features both career fields and career clusters, plus additional helpful information.

If you have questions about Work-Based Learning in Nebraska, please send them to:
Therese Marzouk at .

Updated February 14, 2023 11:18am