Planning to begin a work-based learning program should begin at least a year in advance. Administrative approval must be obtained for initiating a new program as well as the adoption of necessary local policies.

Some essential activities that should be accomplished as a school progresses toward the decision to offer work-based learning include the following.

Organize an advisory committee

  • Contact key community individuals among employers, employees, school, service organizations, trade organizations, chambers of commerce, and other agencies.
  • Appoint a planning committee or advisory committee to guide the process to ensure that all important steps are taken and to give the effort credibility.

Conduct surveys

  • Conduct a student survey to determine student needs and interests and simultaneously to determine businesses that already employ students as part-time workers.
  • Conduct a local occupational survey to determine the number and types of training stations available in the school service area.
  • Determine employer interest in participation.

Create a plan

  • Devise a tentative written plan to include philosophy, objectives, policy formation, control procedures, responsibilities of personnel, organizational structure, and general supervision, broad advisory functions, and an estimated total cost and budget.
  • Present the plan to the school principal and the LEA CTE Director.
  • Select and/or hire teacher coordinator(s).

Develop local guidelines for participating students to include, but not limited to these issues.

  • If cooperative method - courses that can be connected to on-the-job training.
  • Transportation to job sites and parking at the job site.
  • Hours worked that will count toward course credit (school days, weekends, holidays, summertime).
  • Will the school increase requirements for issuing credit or use state adopted guidelines?
  • Methods of computing and reporting grades.
  • Student's school and job responsibilities.
  • Background checks for the employers.
  • Insurance coverage for each student.
  • Work Schedules (whether students will alternate half-days, full days, weeks etc. at the job site).
  • Criteria for school attendance and attendance at the training station.
  • If students are released early from school to participate, where will they go in the afternoons prior to being placed for employment?
  • What happens if the student loses/quits his/her job because of personal fault?
  • What if a student loses his/her job through no fault of his/her own?
  • Should students be expected to attend employer appreciation events?

Develop a criteria for training stations

  • Develop criteria for selecting on-the-job training stations that will be followed by the teacher(s) placing students for training at the job sites.
  • Involve the advisory committee to be a part of the training station approval on an annual basis.

Develop training agreement and training plan guidelines

  • A teacher licensed in the content area coordinates classroom instruction and on-the-job training.
  • A signed training agreement is on file at the school and the training station of each student.
  • Training plans are developed and followed for each student.
  • These guidelines should ensure that a training agreement is signed within the week that the student is placed, or the training plan is developed within two to three weeks of the student trainee beginning work at the job site.
  • Determine the location for the official school copy of the training agreement and training plan.

Develop policies and procedures

  • Develop policies regarding the number of training hours to be completed in order to receive school credit. Will half unit, 1 unit, or 2 units be provided based on training hours, or will some other standard of competence be used?
  • Determine time schedules and responsibilities of those involved to coordinate the school instruction with the training conducted at the job site. Outline the responsibilities with the employers of the training to be done at the job site and the evaluation and grading processes to be coordinated between the trainer at the job site and the school coordinator.
  • Develop procedures for accumulating student payroll information, and ensure that students are paid in compliance with the North Carolina and/or federal wage and hour legislation.
  • Develop a procedure that supports the reporting and recording of student participation.

Provide professional development

  • Design the training experiences for the entire school staff to ensure uniform understanding of the proper usage of work-based learning in meeting the needs of students and employers.
  • Develop a training program for the employers who will be on-the-job training partners. This may become a function of the planning or advisory committee to train partners on an annual basis (especially new training sites).