Work Based Learning Information

Work-Based Learning Definition

Work-Based Learning refers to a structured and coordinated work experience that relates closely to the occupational aspect of the student's educational program. Cooperative education programs involve:

  • A combination of academic course work and work based experiences.
  • Students earning high school credit while on the job.
  • A written cooperative agreement between the high school and the employer.
  • Connecting learning activities between the classroom and the work experience.


Student achievement is the Baltimore County Public School System's primary goal. Research has proven that experiential learning promotes intellectual maturity, personal growth, career awareness, as well as civic and social responsibility. Experiential learning through a work experience program provides a dynamic, structured partnership offering a wide range of opportunities to promote student achievement.

Work-based experiences provide students with a means to develop the skills and knowledge base necessary to make appropriate and informed decisions in the career development process and prepare them for lifelong learning. A work-based experience offers students an opportunity to fuse academics with the real world and optimize educational achievement.

Student Goals

Employers, students and coordinators will create a learning plan designed to evaluate growth and performance at the worksite. This plan will include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Academic development: Students apply knowledge learned in the classroom to the workplace setting.
  • Skill development: Students apply skills required in the workplace and career field.
  • Career development: Students enhance personal knowledge of the qualifications and responsibilities of a career field and the processes for accessing that career field.
  • Personal development: Students strengthen decision-making and critical-thinking skills, personal responsibility, confidence, and self esteem.
  • Technology application: Students use technology as it applies to the industry. Achievement of these goals will be demonstrated by student participation in academic courses, experiences at the work site, and connecting activities.


  • Opportunity to learn from a rigorous, structured exposure to the workplace.
  • Opportunity to learn the various aspects of an industry or career.
  • School-based coordinator to reinforce and develop both general and specific employability skills and attitudes.
  • Written learning plan to assist the student in obtaining the greatest benefit from the workplace experience.
  • Competitive edge in obtaining marketable career skills and experience.
  • Sampling of a career without the pressures and commitments of full-time employment.
  • Structured and directed exploration of the world of work.
  • Opportunity to develop a network of people who can be helpful in future job searches.


Students will:

  • Demonstrate necessary skills to seek and to obtain employment that will provide real-world experiences in a chosen career field.
  • Practice workplace readiness skills in order to be productive and responsible workers.
  • Employ ethical standards and effective communication skills necessary to maintain employment and to advance within a chosen career field.
  • Exhibit the necessary interpersonal skills to build and maintain relationships with people different from themselves in order to be effective team members.
  • Utilize problem-solving and decision-making techniques to effectively resolve issues in the workplace.
  • Adapt to changing technology in the workplace to be productive workers.
  • Apply academic and technical knowledge and skills in order to demonstrate mastery of competencies in a specific occupation.
  • Apply safe work habits to adhere to safety, health, and environmental practices in the workplace.
  • Establish, prioritize, and revise goals to be productive workers and to reflect upon knowledge gained during work experiences.
  • Describe the connections among educational achievement and lifelong learning in order to evaluate career options across career pathways.
  • Update and prepare portfolios for presentation in order to showcase academic and technical skills for employment.