CTE Work-Based Learning

Experiential learning in secondary schools can include more structured, state-approved work experience programs, also called work-based learning (WBL). WBL provides students with the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and work habits that increase the potential for career and college success. This learning can be sponsored by a school district for the purposes of exposing students to future options (career exploration) and career preparation (skills training). WBL is for general education and special education students.

WBL is formalized learning with instruction occurring at the school and at a community-based setting with an employer in the geographical region of the school. WBL is a collaborative endeavor between a student, his/her parents/guardians, an employer, and the school that engages students in real-world activities. Through school involvement and defined learning, students have the opportunity to earn school credit for the supervised WBL. WBL programs are approved at the school district level by the Career and College Success Division at the Minnesota Department of Education.

A formalized WBL involves an appropriately licensed teacher with a WBL coordinator endorsement license (or variance) who closely supervises the worksite activities and is responsible for all the paperwork associated with this experience (training plans, agreements, safety training, seminar class, performance evaluations, recordkeeping, site observation, etc.). Schools collect general education revenue for the credit hours that students spend in the program, including school hours that the students spend at a community-based worksite.

The Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) offers exceptions to the child labor regulations that permit 14- and 15-year-olds to be employed in carefully planned work experience and career exploration program for students who can benefit from a career-oriented education. Employability skill building experiences, internships, career pathway experiences and youth apprenticeships are for students aged 16-21.

For more information about Work-Based Learning, access A Reference Guide to Minnesota Work-Based Learning Programs, as well as form templates for consideration by school districts, below.

Minnesota Career and Technical Education Resources


Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)—Data Center is a useful website for teachers and business/industry professionals to stay current on regional labor market needs and employment trends that can impact CTE programs.

  • Example Student Performance Evaluation Form - 7/24/18  pdf iconPDF 
    Districts can use this sample as is or modify the word version of this document to personalize for their districts’ unique needs. A copy of each student’s completed form should be kept on file at the district.
  • Example Unpaid Training Agreement Form - 7/23/18  pdf iconPDF 
    Districts can use this sample as is or modify the word version of this document to personalize for their districts’ unique needs. A copy of each student’s completed form should be kept on file at the district.
  • Example Paid Training Agreement Form - 7/23/18  pdf iconPDF 
    Districts can use this sample as is or modify the word version of this document to personalize for their districts’ unique needs. A copy of each student’s completed form should be kept on file at the district.
  • Example Training Plan Form - 7/20/18  pdf iconPDF 
    Districts can use this sample as is or modify the word version of this document to personalize for their districts’ unique needs. A copy of each student’s completed form should be kept on file at the district.
  • Example Worksite Selection Checklist Form - 7/20/18  pdf iconPDF 
    Districts can use this sample as is or modify the word version of this document to personalize for their districts’ unique needs. A copy of each form completed for a particular work placement at a particular employer should be kept on file at the district.
  • Example Weekly Student Timecard Form - 7/20/18  pdf iconPDF 
    Districts can use this sample as is or modify the word version of this document to personalize for their districts’ unique needs. A copy of each student’s completed weekly timecards across the duration of the work-based learning experience should be kept on file at the district.