Work-Based Learning FAQ
Work-based learning is authentic learning experiences that allow students to explore their career goals, abilities, and interests while applying their academic and technical knowledge and skills in a real-world context. These experiences are planned and supervised by instructional staff in collaboration with business, industry, or community partners.
An instructional staff member with a work-based learning extension is required to oversee New York’s registered work-based learning programs, or any experiences in which students are placed in sustained experiences outside of the school building, earn academic credit, or may meet the student learner exemption. Additional information and details of the extensions can be found in the Coordinator Certification section of this page. For unregistered experiences, while it is highly recommended that an individual with the work-based learning extension supervise those experiences, it is not required.
If all hours cannot be met, then a school may, at their discretion allow for up to twenty hours of career awareness experiences to count as work-based learning. Full details on this flexibility as well as information on documenting such experiences can be found in our August 2022 memo.
Any registered or unregistered experiences as defined in the work-based learning manual can count as work-based learning.
If a student is “in school” regardless of the location, the committee on special education (CSE) must determine if the IEP reflects all of the student’s special education needs including whether or not the student requires nursing services in every setting. The CSE determination as to whether a student needs school health services or school nurse services to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education must be made on an individual basis. The types and amounts of services to be provided must be individually determined based on each student’s unique needs and documented within the student’s IEP, and the frequency and/or duration of services must be specific enough so that the extent to which health/nursing services will be provided is clear. For more information, please see Guidelines for Determining a Student with a Disability's Need for a One-to-One Nurse.
For questions regarding IEP implementation for students with disabilities at a work-based learning placement, please contact the Office of Special Education Policy Unit at email@example.com.
For assistance in meeting the health/nursing needs of students at school and school sponsored events, please contact the Office of Student Support Services at StudentSupportServices@nysed.gov.
Supervision of Programs
The New York State Education Department does not set class size guidelines for any courses, including registered work-based learning experiences. This is a local decision and is usually based on board of education policies and/or the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement.
It is highly recommended that a work-based learning coordinator with other teaching responsibilities have no more than fifteen students per prep. This is important to ensure that the coordinator has the time to visit all sites in accordance with program guidelines. There is additional need for flexibility since students are generally placed outside of the school. Having a large number of students at a time can compromise the coordinator’s ability to supervise the experience adequately and safely.
For CEIP and GEWEP programs, the coordinator should visit sites at least once prior to placement of students and at least once while the student is placed. For CO-OP programs, the coordinator should visit sites at least once prior to placement of students and twice while the student is placed. The coordinator should also provide contact information to sponsoring employers and be reasonably available to respond to any situations that may arise.
At local discretion, work-based learning experiences may take place during the summer months. Students must be supervised by district instructional staff while placed in any work-based learning experiences. For registered programs, a work-based learning coordinator must supervise the experience in accordance with program guidelines.
The exact topics covered for related instruction are at the discretion of the school but should focus on success in the work experience and preparation for the world of work. A list of suggested topics can be found in the work-based learning manual.
A list of sample forms can be found on the WBL Sample Forms webpage. All programs should have a memorandum of agreement, training plan, and emergency medical treatment authorization. Other forms may be utilized where appropriate by program and at the discretion of the school district or BOCES.
No. While NYSED provides some samples, these forms should be customized to meet each district’s needs. All forms should be reviewed by the school district/BOCES attorney prior to use. The NYSED Office of CTE is unable to provide legal advice or assistance to districts.
In most circumstances, there is no requirement for districts to provide transportation for work-based learning placements; however, transportation may be provided by the district, depending on district policies, student needs, and availability of staff to transport students.
This would be a local decision. It is advisable to get parent/guardian permission and a copy of the student’s license before allowing students to drive to work-based learning placements.
No. GEWEP is a program in which students learn about the world of work and explore career opportunities and develop broad-based transferable skills to be applied in school and the workplace. Per program guidelines, a memorandum of agreement needs to be in place between the school and sponsoring employer. An instructional staff member with either the career awareness or development work-based learning extension must supervise the experience.
It should be the policy of the school district/BOCES to maintain student records according to the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule as outlined below:
- Memorandums of agreement, training plans, parent/guardian permission forms, student’s time sheets and work summaries, and similar work-based learning records: six (6) years from when the student graduates or would have normally graduated from school
- Student journals: one (1) year after the end of the school year
- Employment certificate (working papers): zero (0) years after student attains age 21
There are several factors that make it impossible for hours logged as a “gig” worker to count as work-based learning hours as part of a GEWEP program. These are as follows:
Per GEWEP program guidelines, coordinators must visit all sites prior to placing students and at least once while the student is placed. Given the nature of this work, this is impossible.
The goal of the GEWEP program is to develop transferrable professional skills that can be taken to a variety of future careers. This includes being accountable to an actual employer. For companies in which gig work is done, the people doing the work are independent contractors and while there are provisions they need to adhere to, the employer-employee relationship is not there.
Since students are independent contractors, they would not be eligible to be covered under the employer’s worker’s compensation policy.
Given the nature of the position is driving in a student’s personal vehicle, there could be liability issues for the district if the student were to get into/cause an accident while in a school-sponsored experience.
Since babysitting occurs typically on private property of which the WBL coordinator or instructional staff cannot supervise, it cannot count as work-based learning.
An extension in work-based learning is required to supervise any of New York’s three registered work-based learning programs.
It is highly recommended since students are being placed into the community for an extended work experience, but it is not required.
No. The Office of CTE can assist you in understanding what some of the requirements mean, but the office does not review teacher certification applications or set policy for teacher certification. Teacher certification questions are best answered by the Office of Teaching Initiatives.
The eligibility requirements for the work-based learning extensions are outlined in Section 80-4.3 of Commissioner’s Regulations. The Coordinator of Work-Based Learning Programs extension can be obtained by any classroom teacher title that covers grades 7-12 or the pupil personnel services title of school counselor. Per the regulations, other pupil personnel services titles, including school psychologist or school social worker, are not considered valid base teaching certification for the purpose of getting a work-based learning extension. Therefore, a school psychologist or social worker would not be eligible, per regulations, to obtain a work-based learning extension.
The eligibility requirements for the work-based learning extension are outlined in Section 80-4.3 of Commissioner’s Regulations. The Coordinator of Work-Based Learning Programs extension can be obtained by any classroom teacher title that covers grades 7-12 or the pupil personnel title of school counselor. Per the regulations, Childhood Education (1-6) is not a grade band that is eligible to obtain the extension.
For all registered work-based learning programs, working papers are required for individuals under the age of 18. The coordinator shall maintain a copy of the working papers and, when necessary, these working papers will be provided to the sponsor. For more information on working papers, please visit the Office of Student Support Services’ web site.
Minors may be placed in any work setting so long as the work setting is not considered a hazardous occupation per New York State or United States Department of Labor guidelines and all other pertinent labor laws are being followed. The only exceptions to this are as follows:
- If the minor is in a registered apprenticeship program. That program must be registered with the New York State Department of Labor
- If the minor is in a cooperative education (CO-OP) program that is registered with the New York State Education Department and is operated in accordance with NYSED guidelines. Minors in a CO-OP program may only be placed in hazardous occupations that are in line with their CTE training.
If there is question as to whether a particular occupation is hazardous, please contact the New York State Department of Labor for guidance.
If a student has salmon working papers and meets certain criteria outlined by the Department of Labor, this could be a possibility. Please contact the New York State Department of Labor directly for guidance in this area.
No, unless they are completing the work placement as part of a school-sponsored work-based learning program. Students may not miss other academic classes due to this work placement.
Yes. Careful planning needs to take place between the student’s work-based learning placement and any other outside work placements to ensure that the legal number of hours per day or per week is not exceeded.
A CDOS credential is a stand-alone exiting credential which is designed to measure achievement of the CDOS learning standards. The CDOS credential alone is not a high school diploma. Beginning in June 2016, the CDOS credential may be utilized as a 4+1 pathway for graduation. A Regents Diploma using the 4+1 CDOS pathway is considered a high school diploma.
There are two options by which a student may earn a CDOS credential:
The student must meet each of the following requirements:
- Development of a Career Plan
- Demonstrated achievement of the commencement level CDOS learning standards 1, 2, and 3a:
- Successful completion of at least 216 hours of CTE coursework and/or work-based learning experiences (of which at least 54 hours must be in work-based learning experiences)
- At least one employability profile, completed within one year prior to student's exit from high school
The student must meet the requirements for one of the Department-Approved Pathway Assessments in Career Development and Occupational Studies.
No. However, NYSED has developed a sample employability skills template. Please note that this sample would not be acceptable for a NYSED-approved CTE program since it does not contain technical skills. Guidance on creating an employability profile for a NYSED-approved CTE program can be found on the New York State Education Department’s CTE Program Approval Page.
The answer would be no unless the school has a registered GEWEP program which is overseen by an instructional staff member or school counselor holding a work-based learning extension. The coordinator would need to follow program guidelines for GEWEP before employment may count towards work-based learning hours.
No. These questions are best directed to the Office of Curriculum and Instruction at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of Career and Technical Education can only answer questions regarding the career and technical education and work-based learning components of the CDOS credential.
Work-Based Learning in NYSED-Approved CTE Programs
Students in NYSED-approved CTE programs must be given the opportunity to participate in work-based learning experiences, but they do not necessarily need to participate in them. It should be noted, for schools/BOCES that receive Perkins funds, that completion of at least 54 hours of work-based learning experiences is a program quality indicator (5S3). Recipients that do not meet the indicator will be expected to direct funds to ensure that the targets are being met. For more information about Perkins funds, please visit our Perkins webpage. Having students complete at least 54 hours also allows for students to meet some of the requirements towards CDOS Option 1.
No. Students in NYSED-approved CTE programs must be given an opportunity to participate in work-based learning experiences. These may be in any registered or unregistered experiences as outlined in the work-based learning manual. The only exception is that students in operationally approved health sciences programs must complete no less than 108 hours of supervised clinical experience.