Superintendent’s Memo #092-14

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 11, 2014

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  A Strategic Review of Work-Based Learning in Virginia Report

The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to share with school divisions A Strategic Review of Work-Based Learning in Virginia: Expanding Opportunities for Students.  This report includes the culmination of statewide survey results, national literary research, and input from stakeholders representing business and industry and secondary education from the Department of Education’s eight superintendents’ regions.  The report reinforces the need to (1) redefine the work-based learning (WBL) methods for students in career and technical education; (2) refocus the implementation guidelines to ensure a direct connection between the student’s WBL experience and his/her program of studies; (3) provide relevant experiential learning in the workplace that can lead to high-demand, high-skill, high-wage careers; and (4) streamline procedures to increase flexibility for schools in redesigning and offering WBL experiences.
In summary, the report recommends that career and technical education programs redesign WBL experiences to include the following:

Employers increasingly expect new hires to come to them primed with work experience and ready to perform at an informed level from day one. WBL offers relevant work experience to middle and high school students.  An investment in WBL can be expected to bring significant returns to individual students, the work force, and the economy.

School divisions are encouraged to take a strategic look at current WBL offerings and determine ways to expand opportunities for students. The revised WBL implementation guide for CTE administrators, teachers, and coordinators will be available in several weeks.  Additionally, ongoing virtual and face-to-face training will be offered, beginning April 2014.

If you have any questions, please contact Anne Rowe, coordinator for curriculum and instruction, Office of Career and Technical Education Services, at or by phone at: (804) 225-3119.