Work-Based Learning

In an increasingly complex global economy, all students must be prepared with intellectual, technical, and social skills needed to compete and contribute meaningfully to their communities. For most, this will mean completing some postsecondary education or training; for all, it will mean learning about themselves and the world of work.

Work-based learning (WBL) is a proactive approach to bridging the gap between high school and high-demand, high-skill careers in Tennessee. Students build on classroom-based instruction to develop employability skills that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and future careers. Through experiences like internships, apprenticeships, and cooperative education (co-op), juniors or seniors (16 years or older) may earn high school credit for capstone WBL experiences. WBL Coordinators are educators who are trained and certified to coordinate these WBL experiences for students.

The department is redesigning current WBL policies and developing new resources to help districts offer WBL experiences to their students. Updated policies will be implemented in the 2015-2016 school year.

WBL Updates

Work-based learning (WBL) is being redesigned for the 2015-16 school year to provide more students with access to rigorous, capstone experiences. The department has:

  • Conducted a statewide assessment of WBL (over 450 survey responses and 225 focus group participants)
  • Identified training and resource needs
  • Developed new policies to better serve students and districts and focus on skill development
  • Wrote course standards for WBL that align with employability skills needed by Tennessee industries
  • Held WBL Preview Sessions for over 300 administrators, teachers, and counselors to discuss updates and seek feedback

WBL Coordinators will be responsible for keeping up-to-date with policies and changes as they are rolled out during the spring of 2015.  All coordinators will need these updates to be in compliance during the 2015-16 school year.  Teachers may get required updates through this webpage as they are released, or they may attend upcoming in-person training between March and July, 2015.  See “WBL Training Information” below for training dates and registration. 

Policy Update

On October 31, 2014, the State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the WBL Framework as a clear set of guidelines that pertain to all types of work-based learning (WBL) experiences.  The WBL Framework is established in SBE Rule 0520-01-03-.06 and is outlined in High School Policy 2.103.

For official language of SBE rule and policies, please see the SBE website.

Standards

On October 31, 2014, two WBL courses were passed on first reading for the 2015-16 school year: Career Exploration  and Work-Based Learning: Career Practicum . WBL courses are based on the most critical skills identified by over 75 industry and postsecondary partners.

Career Clusters - For course information, visit or Career Clusters page and look for Work-Based Learning.

WBL Pilot Program

Five districts are participating in a pilot program for the 2014-15 school year to refine the updated WBL Policy Guide, the WBL Implementation Guide, the Work-Based Learning: Career Practicum course standards, and test the use of updated tools and trainings prior to statewide rollout in 2015-16. These districts are providing critical input to ensure that policies and procedures will best serve Tennessee students in all districts.

WBL Training Information

Register here for all WBL training sessions. Registration closes two weeks prior to the training, or when the session has been filled. Priority is given to teachers who have never earned the certificate and need it to offer a course for credit.

WBL Updates: 2015-16 Policies and Resources

WBL Coordinators are responsible for keeping up-to-date with WBL policy changes as they are released by the Department. All coordinators will need the 2015-16 WBL updates to be in compliance during the 2015-16 school year. 

Teachers may get these required updates through the WBL webpage starting on March 10, 2015, or they may attend an upcoming in-person training session.  Spring and summer sessions are for all new and existing WBL Coordinators and will focus on 2015-16 updated policies. These sessions will certify new WBL Coordinators or recertify existing WBL Coordinators for the next five years:

  • Mar. 25-26, 2015: West TN, Location TBD
  • Apr. 8-9, 2015: East TN, Location TBD
  • Apr. 15-16, 2015: Mid TN, Location TBD
  • June 9-10, 2015: East TN, Location TBD
  • June 17-18, 2015: West TN, Location TBD
  • June 23-24, 2015: Mid TN, Location TBD
  • July 9-10, 2015: Mid TN: Institute for CTE Educators

2014-15 Work-Based Learning Certification: Training for New Coordinators

WBL Coordinators can certify for the current school year (2014-15) by participating in the following training.  All future training dates, listed above, will certify teachers for the 2015-16 school year. 

  • Friday, Feb. 6 – Current Policies (2014-15)
    • 8:30-3:30 central time, live webinar
    • Registration and Pre-work are due by 4 p.m. central on Jan. 22, 2015
    • Homework is due by 4 p.m. central on Mar. 9, 2015

2014-15 Work-Based Learning Recertification

WBL Coordinators can recertify for the current school year (2014-15) using the Recertification Packet available on this website by Feb. 16, 2015. The Recertification Packet will renew their certificate for 5 years, but WBL Coordinators will still be responsible for getting the 2015-16 updates prior to next school year. WBL Coordinators can access the 2014-15 Recertification Packet under “WBL Coordinator Training Materials.”

  • WBL Coordinators are responsible for any updates released while their WBL Certificate is active.
  • Recertification Paperwork submitted between Dec. 2 and Feb. 16, 2015 will be processed by March 16, 2015.

WBL Coordinator Training Materials

  • Pre-Work for New WBL Coordinator Training (due by 4 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2015 October 24, 2014) - Please choose ONE of the following two formats:
    • Online Form Use this to complete the online version of the pre-work for New WBL Coordinator Training. This online form will allow you to save your responses for up to 28 days (you do not have to complete in one sitting). You will get an email confirmation of your submission.
    • Downloadable PDF Form Use this to complete the downloadable version of the pre-work for New WBL Coordinator Training. This packet contains a submit button on the final page. Once completed, ensure that you have an internet connection and click this button to submit. You will get an email confirmation of your submission.
  • 2014-15 WBL Recertification Packet (see “WBL Training Information” for due dates) - Please choose ONE of the following two formats:
    • Online Recertification Form: Use this to complete the online version of the Recertification Packet. This online form will allow you to save your responses for up to 28 days (you do not have to complete in one sitting). You will get an email confirmation of your submission.
    • Downloadable PDF Recertification Packet: Use this to complete the downloadable version of the WBL Recertification Packet. This packet contains a submit button on the final page. Once completed, ensure that you have an internet connection and click this button to submit. You will get an email confirmation of your submission.
  • Webinar Modules: The following training webinars may contain past dates and deadlines. Please reference this web page for actual due dates.

WBL Coordinator Resources

Upload WBL Summary Sheet

Last Update: January 30, 2015