Superintendent’s Memo #184-14

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

July 11, 2014

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide

The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to announce the newly revised Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide based on the redesigned work-based learning (WBL) methods of instructionThis implementation guide for Career and Technical Education (CTE) administrators, teachers, and coordinators supports the recommendations presented in A Strategic Review of Work-Based Learning in Virginia:  Expanding Opportunities for Students. That report is a culmination of statewide CTE administrator survey results, national literature research, and input from stakeholders representing business and industry and secondary education from the Department of Education’s eight superintendents’ regions.

WBL is a school-coordinated, coherent sequence of workplace experiences that are related to students’ career goals and/or interests, are based on instructional preparation, and are performed in partnership with local businesses, industries, or other organizations in the community.  WBL enables students to apply classroom instruction in a real-world business or service-oriented work environment.

The seven WBL methods of instruction recommended for practice in Virginia in order from the lowest to highest degree of involvement are job shadowing, mentorship, service learning, internship, clinical experience, student apprenticeship, and cooperative education.  The guide focuses on all types of WBL methods used in Virginia.  It includes Virginia regulations and guidelines for the administration of WBL and provides training materials for teacher-coordinators.  Schools divisions should use this guide to implement WBL offerings locally.

Employers increasingly expect newly hired employees 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.

If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Acuff, work-based learning coordinator, Office of Career and Technical Education Services, at or by phone at (804) 225-3119.