High-quality CTE: Work-based Learning
Click the + sign next to each category below to explore resources that align with the Work-based Learning element of the ACTE Quality CTE Program of Study FrameworkTM.
Research and Reports
- Career-connected PBL: Project-based learning grounded in authentic – Defined, March 2023
This brief describes the benefits of project-based learning that is connected to careers.
- Understanding Experiential Learning Through Work-Based College Coursetaking: Evidence From Transcript Data Using a Text Mining Technique – Zhou, Community College Research Center, February 2023
This report analyzes postsecondary work-based learning coursetaking and its outcomes. Findings show that approximately 15% of postsecondary enrollees and 30% of graduates took a work-based course in the six years after college entry.
- The Options Multiplier: Decoding the CareerWise Youth Apprentice Journey – Fuller et al., The Project on Workforce at Harvard University, November 2022
This report by examines retention, completion and outcomes for youth apprentices in the Colorado CareerWise program, a three-year youth apprenticeship program in which students split their time between the classroom and the workplace with the goal of continuing onto postsecondary education and/or employment.
- The Current State of Diversity and Equity in U.S. Apprenticeships For Young People – Sullivan & Joy, Jobs for the Future, September 2022
This study analyzes federal Registered Apprenticeship data between 2010 and 2020 to gain insight about the demographics and outcomes of youth apprentices – those aged 16 to 24.
- What Everyone Should Know about Designing Equity-Minded Paid Work-Based Learning Opportunities for College Students – Amechi, New America, September 2022
This study examines paid work-based learning program models at five community colleges across the nation to better understand their design, goals and outcomes. The report’s findings discuss funding policies, program impacts and features.
- An Exploration of Employer Participation in Internships and Other Work-Based Learning Experiences – Johnson, Journal of Career and Technical Education, May 2022
This study examined survey responses from employers to better understand their experiences with work-based learning programs. The study found that work-based learning helped to establish community partnerships and recruitment pipelines and described barriers employers face in growing work-based learning programs such as a lack of information and financial constraints.
- Youth Apprenticeship in Action: Principles in Practice – Mathie, Jobs for the Future, September 2021
As part of New America’s Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship initiative, this brief outlines the key principles of a high-quality youth apprenticeship program, paired with national examples showcasing program success for both learners and employers.
- Rural Apprenticeships for Young People: Challenges and Strategies for Success – Boren, Pruitt, Arabandi & Rayfield, Urban Institute, August 2021
This report examines four rural Registered Apprenticeship programs in Maine, Arizona, Missouri and Mississippi and highlights the strategies these programs have pursued to overcome unique obstacles.
- Unpacking the Work of Work-based Learning – Vázquez & Jain, Aspen Institute, February 2021
This report describes the key features of work-based learning programs that primarily serve young adults of color and highlights how practitioners implement their programs to meet the needs of young adults of color.
- Expanding Work-based Learning Opportunities for Youth: Insights from the Field – U.S. Department of Education, January 2021
This document summarizes comments about expanding work-based learning opportunities provided to the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education by state and local educational agencies, nonprofit organizations, professional and industry associations, and research organizations.
- Working to Learn and Learning to Work: A State-By-State Analysis of High School Work-based Learning Policies – American Student Assistance, 2021
This resources uses a state-by-state analysis of work-based learning policies to examine how states define work-based learning and implement programmatic features.
- Taking Business to School series – ACTE, 2020-2021
The Taking Business to School series describes how employers across industries have engaged with education institutions, both secondary and postsecondary, to develop career pathways and provide meaningful work-based learning that leads to careers. Case studies include Vancouver Public Schools and TechSmart, Gateway Technical College and SC Johnson, Grand Forks Public Schools and Northrop Grumman, WSU Tech and Snap-On and West-MEC and Palo Verde Generating Station. The series also includes A Resource Guide for Building an Employer Partner Engagement Plan.
- Delivering Real-World Experiences Through Work-Based Learning – Diemer, ACTE, December 2020
This brief describes promising practices in work-based learning and how to get started on a work-based learning program.
- Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities – Advance CTE, November 2020
Informed by discussions from the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship’s Data Quality Workgroup, this report outlines challenges to youth apprenticeship data quality and provides recommendations and strategies state leaders, local intermediaries and education and employer partners can follow to improve data quality.
- Work-based Learning Can Advance Equity and Opportunities for America’s Young People – Ross, Kazis, Bateman & Stateler, Brookings Institution, November 2020
Using interviews and literature analyses, this publication outlines three foundational elements to delivering high-quality work-based learning to high school students and adults and explores the implications of work-based learning programs.
- State Strategies to Scale Work-based Learning – National Governors Association, February 2020
This resource outlines three standards for creating a high-quality work-based learning experience.
- The Impact of Youth Apprenticeship and Employability Skills Programs on Career and Technical Education Concentrator-Completer Post Graduation Outcomes ($) – Mindham & Schultz, Career and Technical Education Research, December 2019
This research analyzes the educational and employment outcomes of secondary CTE concentrators that participated in a youth apprenticeship or employability skills program.
- Measuring Secondary CTE Program Quality series – Advance CTE, July 2019
This series explores the pros and cons of each of the three options for the Perkins V secondary program quality indicator, including work-based learning, and examines different ways states are measuring and validating these measures.
- Partnering Up: How Industry Partnerships Can Bring Work-based Learning to Scale – Spiker, National Skills Coalition, January 2019
This brief discusses the role of local, industry-driven partnerships in aligning workforce, education and human services systems and bring work-based learning to scale. It highlights four partnerships that have broadened the pipeline of workers with access to work-based learning programs.
- Broadening the Apprenticeship Pipeline – Johnson & Spiker, National Skills Coalition, August 2018
This brief discusses the significant roles affordable childcare and programs like pre-apprenticeship have in expanding access to and success in work-based learning programs.
- Apprenticeships and Community Colleges: Do They Have a Future Together? – Klor de Alva & Schneider, American Enterprise Institute, May 2018
Researchers assess community colleges’ potential role in the growing number of apprenticeships nationwide and highlight challenges these institutions may face when looking to sponsor a program as well as the competitive role private apprenticeship providers may play.
- Promising Practices for Successful High School Apprenticeships – Curry, American School Counselor Association, 2018
This resource offers comprehensive guidance on high school apprenticeships, including defining types of apprenticeship and work-based learning programs, developing memoranda of understanding, placing students, accommodating special populations, identifying and training supervisors, pursuing accountability and developing employability skills.
- Simulated Work-based Learning: Instructional Approaches and Noteworthy Practices – Moyer, Snodgrass, Klein & Tebben, U.S. Department of Education, August 2017
This paper explores the potential benefits of three models of simulated learning in CTE: simulation tools to teach occupationally specific skills; simulated workplaces, intended to replicate jobsite conditions; and school-based enterprises.
- Pathways After High School: Evaluation of the Urban Alliance High School Internship Program – Theodos, Daniels, Pergamit, Srini, Hanson & Edelstein, Urban Institute, August 2017
The Urban Institute conducted a six-year research evaluation of Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program, which provides training, mentoring and work experience to high school seniors from under-resourced communities.
- Opportunities for Connecting Secondary CTE Students and Apprenticeship Programs – Kreamer & Zimmermann, U.S. Department of Education, June 2017
This Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education report profiles eight secondary apprenticeship programs to identify strategies to connect CTE with apprenticeship programs.
- Career Exploration in Middle School: Setting Students on the Path to Success – ACTE, April 2017
This publication describes the benefits of career exploration in middle school and explores different ways that schools and districts can integrate career exploration in these grades.
- Connecting the Classroom to Careers series – Advance CTE, October 2015-August 2016
This series examines states’ role in expanding work-based learning opportunities for secondary students, including how to address legal barriers, leverage intermediaries and measure work-based learning.
- Work-based Learning for Youth at Risk: Getting Employers on Board – Kis, Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, December 2016
This report focuses on policy tools designed to help engage employers in work-based learning, specifically apprenticeships programs and programs that target at-risk students and students from underrepresented backgrounds. The report examines and compares models from the United States, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
- Promising Practices in Work-Based Learning for Youth – Showalter & Spiker, October 2016
This paper examines four different youth work-based learning strategies, each targeting different youth populations and industry sectors.
- Not As Hard As You Think: Engaging High School Students in Work-based Learning and What Employers Need to Know: Frequently Asked Questions about High School Students in Workplaces – Cahill & Jacobson, Jobs for the Future, April-May 2015
The first brief features case studies on the ways that employers have managed the logistics of work-based learning. The second brief provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about access to workplaces for students under the age of 18.
- Work-based Learning Opportunities for High School Students – Alfeld, Charner, Johnson & Watts, FHI 360, February 2013
This report describes three major work-based learning categories—internships/co-operative education, youth apprenticeships and school-based enterprises—supplemented by vignettes, case studies and descriptions of selected work-based learning sites.
Toolkits, Guides and Frameworks
- Understanding New Collar Apprenticeships – Work Shift, November 2022
This guide provides an overview of the evolving landscape of apprenticeship programs in the United States. The report covers how employers, non-profit intermediaries and postsecondary institutions are modernizing apprenticeship programs; the impact of apprenticeship scholarship programs; the role of labor unions; and the heightened focus on technology apprenticeship programs.
- Employer Acceptance Agreement Template – Jobs for the Future, June 2022
This document provides an Employer Acceptance Agreement template for sponsors and participating employers to use in their Registered Apprenticeship Programs.
- State Work-Based Learning Innovation Tracker and Analysis – Advance CTE, June 2022
This tracker and its accompanying report provide a repository of states’ publicly accessible work-based learning toolkits and analyze key components of effective work-based learning program implementation, including definitions, training forms, employer resources, data collection and more.
- Building A Youth Apprenticeship Data Ecosystem: A Starter Kit – Advance CTE, March 2022
This starter kit can help state and local intermediaries improve the quality of their youth apprenticeship data capacity. It is the outgrowth of a 2020 report on common challenges and barriers to collecting youth apprenticeship data.
- Work-based Learning Data Collection Toolkit – Waterman, Shields & McMahon, Education Development Center, February 2022
Informed by lessons learned from a multi-year study, this toolkit walks district and school leaders through the process of identifying work-based learning data collection goals, implementing collection processes and using data to improve work-based learning programs.
- Youth Apprenticeship Quality Assessment Tool – Tesfai, New America, February 2022
Guided by quality youth apprenticeship principles established by the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, an initiative of New America, this tool helps youth apprenticeship stakeholders reflect on program data to assess strengths and program improvement opportunities related to partnerships, program design and pathway components.
This toolkit can help program leaders expand the scope and quality of their work-based learning opportunities through improved employer partner engagement. It includes resources and a sample project plan.
- Work-based Learning Implementation Guide – Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, November 2021
This guide created by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides an overview of work-based learning activities and describes their benefits to students, skills to be development, suggestions and steps for implementing a work-based learning program, and advice for collaborating with work-based learning partners.
- CareerPrepped Career Success Toolkit – CTE Learn, October 2021
CTE educators can use CTE Learn’s CareerPrepped toolkit to help learners build, prove and showcase their skills. Learners can document their skills and experiences and store skill evidence in a digital portfolio. They can seek feedback from community members and industry mentors on how well their evidence proves their claimed skills to improve how they signal their skills to employers. Learners can also get matched to jobs based on their skills, track their job search progress, build resumes and more.
- Strengthening Employer and Industry Engagement: A Self-Assessment Tool for Youth Apprenticeship Leaders – National Governors Association, October 2021
This self-assessment helps youth apprenticeship leaders evaluate their program’s industry and employer engagement.
- Youth Apprenticeship Data Framework – Hwang, Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, September 2021
The Youth Apprenticeship Data Framework is a guide to building data systems that monitor the effectiveness of youth apprenticeship programs and inform continuous improvement activities.
- Work-based Learning System Continuum – ConnectEd, September 2021
This resource by ConnectEd provides a work-based learning system continuum, a framework that describes the stages that educators and school districts may follow as they offer increasingly immersive work-based learning experiences. The resource also offers examples of work-based learning activities at each stage of the continuum and describes supports and systemic conditions to implement when scaling up a work-based learning system.
- Dallas Virtual Internship Toolkit – New Skills Ready Network, April 2021
Informed by virtual internship programs used by Dallas employers and national best practices, this toolkit assists organizations in developing a virtual internship program, including checklists, tips and sample materials.
- Work-based Learning and CTE – Advance CTE, April 2021
This resource by Advance CTE offers a work-based learning continuum framework that consists of four stages moving from career awareness to career training, and provides examples of work-based learning activities at each stage of the continuum.
- Connecting Every Learner: A Framework for States to Increase Access to and Success in Work-based Learning – Advance CTE, March 2021
This resource outlines a five-step framework to address equity gaps in work-based learning, featuring exemplar programs from seven states and two cities.
- Rubric for High-Quality Work-based Learning Programs – PrepareRI, October 2020
This work-based learning rubric developed by PrepareRI provides CTE leadership with guidance to assess their work-based learning programs for three different dimensions: preparing students for high-wage, high-demand industries; developing employability skills; and employing reporting protocols.
- High-quality CTE: Planning for a COVID-19 Impacted School Year – ACTE, June 2020
This guide was designed to help CTE leaders make difficult decisions as they offer remote, blended and socially distanced learning during COVID-19. It is organized around the elements of the ACTE Quality CTE Program of Study Framework, including guidance related to work-based learning.
- Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE – Advance CTE & ACTE, March 2020
This toolkit describes core programmatic elements for developing and expanding CTE into the middle grades, including work-based learning. It includes a self-assessment and links to a repository of state-level resources that state and local leaders can leverage as they begin to develop and expand CTE into the middle grades.
- Equity in Youth Apprenticeship Programs – National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, May 2020
Aimed at increasing awareness of barriers to access for youth apprenticeships, this toolkit introduces three key elements to addressing equity challenges in youth apprenticeships and features accompanying activities, reflection tools, schedules and checklists.
- Work-based Learning: Model Policy Components – Zinth, Education Commission of the States, September 2018
This resource by Education Commission of the States provides a framework for work-based learning policy that ensures equitable access to secondary students and prepares them for career and college success.
- High School Apprenticeships: A Guide for Starting Successful Programs – U.S. Department of Labor, August 2018
A resource for high schools, colleges, businesses, community organizations and others seeking to collaborate on high-quality high school apprenticeships, this guide covers the basics of building a high school apprenticeship program and includes examples of program strategies.
- Work-based Learning Manual – FHI 360, December 2017
This how-to guide incorporates suggestions and tools for planning and conducting specific activities across the work-based learning continuum, at school, at a worksite or virtually.
- Work-Based Learning Policy Toolkit for Out-of-School Youth and Disadvantaged Adults – National Skills Coalition, October 2017
This toolkit addresses state policies and practices for paid work-based learning for out-of-school youth and disadvantaged adults.
- Framework on Apprenticeship for High School Students – U.S. Department of Labor, January 2017
This framework provides guidance from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education for high-quality apprenticeship programs for secondary students and summarizes federal child labor laws.
- Work-Based Learning Toolkit – U.S. Department of Education, 2017
This toolkit from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education provides guidelines and resources for creating a state work-based learning strategy, engaging employers, collecting data and scaling effective programs.
- Planning Guide for Aligning CTE and Apprenticeship Programs – U.S. Department of Education, November 2017
This planning guide from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education provides a blueprint for state, regional and local administrators leading efforts to transform CTE and apprenticeship linkages across a state or community. It includes a Mini Guide for State Teams, Mini Guide for Employers and Mini Guide for Local and Regional Teams.
- Building Registered Apprenticeship Programs: A Quick-start Toolkit – U.S. Department of Labor
This toolkit provides helpful steps and resources to start and register an apprenticeship program.
- CTE Work-based Learning Toolkit – New York City Department of Education
This toolkit developed by the New York City Department of Education provides a wide range of resources including activity guides for each type of work-based learning activity, recommendations for employer involvement, fact sheets, as well as tips and tools for conducting virtual work-based learning activities.
This resource features outreach materials crafted specifically to address the questions and concerns of young people and their parents about what apprenticeship might have to offer.
- Work-based Learning Manual – Napa County Office of Education
This manual developed by a wide variety of CTE stakeholders in California provides users with a guide on different types of work-based learning activities. Under each activity is a framework that describes the role of educators, students and community partners as well as the appropriate grade levels for each activity.
- Promising Practices for Successful High School Apprenticeships – American School Counselor Association, 2018
This free book developed by the American School Counselor Association provides an overview of apprenticeship programs and walks readers through eight chapters to review various components and considerations individuals must face when creating or managing an apprenticeship program. Included in each chapter are case studies and promising practices.
- The Employer Engagement Toolkit ($) – Pawlowski & Katz, 2014
This resource describes nine models for building relationships with employer partners, explains how to effectively track partnership outcomes and includes 15 case studies.
- Forms on File: Work-based Learning ($) – Copeland, 2015
This resource provides document templates for internships, apprenticeships, job shadowing and other work-based learning experiences, including applications, learning plans, student and employer evaluations, and checklists.
This webinar prompts viewers to strengthen work-based learning experiences by thinking about how we convey what careers look like, how to break down the complex activities of our careers into namable and manageable parts, and how to give students safe and structured opportunities to try career practices out for themselves.
- Delivering Real-Word Experiences – ACTE, February 2021
Based on a publication by ACTE’s Kelli Diemer, this webinar focuses on establishing sustainable and effective work-based learning experiences. The webinar outlines key components to creating a positive and successful experience for students and employers.
- Talent Pipeline Management: Strategies for Connecting Classrooms to Careers – Advance CTE, June 2020
This webinar focuses on how CTE leaders can build meaningful partnerships with employers to create a talent pipeline that improves learner outcomes and meets workforce demands.
Led by Candice Mott, District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and Najmah Ahmad, Career Readiness Program Director for the Council of Chief State School Officers, this webinar provides resources for leaders at all levels to implement for a dynamic work-based learning continuum.
- Designing High-Quality Apprenticeships – ACTE, 2017
This session identifies best practices that need to be in place for high-quality registered apprenticeship programs.
- Connecting Secondary Students to Apprenticeship Programs – U.S. Department of Education, April 2017
This Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education webinar reviews lessons learned from site visits to eight secondary CTE apprenticeship programs and includes in-depth local examples from Ohio and South Carolina.
- Work-based Learning Measures Series – College & Career Readiness & Success Center
The modules are designed to help a team of committed partners—from secondary and postsecondary education, labor, policymakers, and business and industry—select effective and relevant work-based learning measures.
- Creating Work-Based Learning Programs – First Steps and Next Steps ($) – CTE Learn
These two courses review the continuum of work-based learning opportunities and describe how to establish a work-based learning program. Topics include expected outcomes for students, employers and the school; liability and risk management strategies; the role of the coordinator; and program improvement and evaluation methods.
- Outside the Classroom: Experiential Learning ($) – CTE Learn
This course discusses strategies for extending CTE curriculum into the workplace, including how to prepare worksites for student learners, how to create useful forms and processes, how to implement successful internships, and how to evaluate and assess student success at internship sites.
- Virtual Internships ($) – CTE Learn
This course shares the components of successful virtual internships and what to share with employers and students to help prepare them for virtual internships.
- Creating Service Learning Opportunities for Students ($) – CTE Learn
This course provides information about the advantages of using service learning as a teaching tool and how to implement service learning activities.
- Registered Apprenticeship National Results – U.S. Department of Labor
This resource contains statistics on Registered Apprenticeship programs for each fiscal year, including the number of overall and new apprentices nationally, overall and new apprenticeship programs, occupations with the highest number of apprentices and state-level data.
- Students’ Career Preparation Activities (2012) and Work-Related Attitudes, Influences, and Expectations (2012) – National Center for Education Statistics
Tables include data on secondary students’ work experiences during high school.