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Timeline and Definitions

For a print-ready version of this content, download "Work-Based Learning Definitions and Timeline."

Suggested Timeline

This suggested timeline is not a requirement but a template for including service learning and/or work environment activities continuously throughout middle and high school, as part of the ICAP process.

The following are recommendations to help you develop an action plan that leads to a successful service learning and/or work environment experience.


Governor’s Council (GCWED) for work-based learning activities defines work-based learning activity as a planned, structured learning experience that provides Oklahomans with real-life or simulated work experiences where they can develop and apply academic, technical, and essential skills; and contributes to the achievement of their postsecondary and employment goal(s). The GCWED is employing a flexible definition of work-based learning, encompassing the activities below:

  • Workplace Tours/Field Trips: Career awareness activities in which students visit a workplace to learn about the business, meet employees, ask questions and observe work in progress. Tours and field trips can also include institutions of higher learning or technology centers.
  • Guest Speakers: A career awareness activity in which industry experts are given opportunities to share their perspectives on what the world of business is like and  their passion for what they do, to make connections with duties and daily activities of the job and to offer their well-earned words of advice. Speakers are also open for informal interviews with the students and the instructor in the classroom.
  • Career Exploration Days/Fairs: Useful for a range of students, they are frequently used to recruit students of all ages and expose them to a variety of career options. The fairs may include age-appropriate job related activities or handouts.
  • Interviews: A career awareness activity in which students formally interview a workplace partner about his or her industry and chosen profession. The interview includes discussion of the career itself, duties and daily activities of the job and the level of education required to be successful. The students also explore growth opportunities in the industry and salary ranges for different occupations.
  • Career Mentoring: A career exploration activity in which the student is matched one-to-one with an adult professional in a chosen field of interest to explore a career and related issues. The career mentor serves as a resource for the student by sharing insights and providing guidance about the workplace, careers and education. This mentoring can take place in conjunction with an activity that a club or student organization is sponsoring. It may also take place within a class where the student may be working on a capstone project.
  • Service Learning/Research Papers: A career exploration activity in which the method of teaching and learning combines academic work with service and social action. Students complete a planned series of activities and apply their skills and knowledge to help meet a need in the school or greater community. The activity usually culminates with a presentation of the research, the process and solution results.
  • Community Service/Volunteer Work: An activity in which students perform unpaid public services as a way to gain experience. Service learning allows students to learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet actual community needs and that are coordinated in collaboration with the school and community (National and Community Service Act of 1990).
  • CareerTech Program of Study [PBL, Co-Op, Clinical, etc.]: A program of learning that requires learning specific knowledge and skills that are applied to the real world of work by using project-based learning, co-op education work site learning, live work or other end-of-instruction and work-ready skills mastery experiences that lead to the completion of the program of study. The program of study is a coordinated, non-duplicative sequence of academic and technical content at the secondary and postsecondary level, thus, allowing the student to enter the workforce or advance to a higher work/learning environment. This would also include entrepreneurships or school-based enterprise. Example – DECA.
  • Job Shadow: Job shadow experiences allow participants to explore specific careers of interest by observing experienced employees performing their typical work duties in real-world work environments. The job shadowing work experience is a temporary, unpaid exposure to the workplace in an occupational area of interest to the participant. Job shadowing typically includes a partnership between a business and education/training institution and provides relevant career information to assist participants.

Internship: A position for a student or trainee to work in an organization for a limited time, sometimes without pay, to gain work experience, satisfy requirements for a credential, and/or gain course credit. An internship may be arranged within the private for-profit sector, the non-profit sector, or the public sector. With the passage of SB1171 in 2018, Oklahoma employers can participate in Oklahoma's registered internship program as of July 2018. The program creates a competitive recruitment process so employers can find the best intern to meet their organization's needs.

  • For youth internships through which students are receiving K-12 academic credit, the following guidelines were set by the Oklahoma State Department of Education in 2017:
    • Students must be juniors or seniors to participate in an internship.
    • A maximum of two high school elective hours of the six rigorous course hours required per school day can be used for such programs. (The two hours include student travel to internship site.) A senior student may petition the local school board to increase the time to three hours if that fits into the student’s schedule.
    • Internships will count as a semester course and can be repeated for elective credit – up to one credit per semester (per class - consistent with concurrent enrollment)
    • Districts are encouraged to consider developing local policies and guidelines to govern internship programs including the following:
      • Agreements between the school and business
      • Grading rubrics for school, student and business (e.g., attendance)
      • Feedback forms for business
      • Performance evaluations for students
      • Workplace safety
  • Clinical: Work based learning programs that involve health related careers. Clinicals are a supervised student experience that allows the student to put into practice skills they have learned in a health care program. Clinicals involve hospital and other health care settings which require some level of patient care or contact. Clinicals may take place during the last section or quarter of a training program or may even extend over multiple terms. Clinical experience is a key component for anyone interested in working in a health career. Many healthcare training programs have a required clinical component to obtain certification or licensure in that specific health career.
  • Youth Apprenticeship/Pre-Apprenticeship: A program designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a registered apprenticeship program. Pre-apprenticeship models allow individuals to master essential basic skills; they are then directly accepted into apprenticeship programs, often receiving credit for prior experience. Basic essential skills could include training in math, literacy, communication and other prevocational and vocational skills that are essential for success in a registered apprenticeship program. Through a variety of unique designs and approaches, pre-apprenticeship programs can be adapted to meet the needs of differing populations being trained, the various employers and sponsors they serve and specific opportunities within the local labor market. Pre-apprenticeships have formal relationships with one or more registered apprenticeship programs.
  • Apprenticeship: Highly formal job training experience that involves studying with a master of the trade or experienced mentor on the job. Registered apprenticeships refer to those programs that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. Registered apprenticeship programs are written plans designed to move apprentices from low- or no-skill entry-level positions to full occupational proficiency. 

Registered apprenticeships are employer-driven, earn while you learn models that combine on-the-job training with related technical instruction, resulting in industry-recognized national certifications upon completion. Apprenticeships are full-time, paid positions that provide specialized training in specific occupational skills. Apprentices receive on-the-job training from experienced mentors at the job site, which is supplemented by related technical instruction. DOL recommends a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of related technical instruction per year.

  • Employee Development: A process through which employees, with the support of employers, undergo various training programs to enhance skills and acquire new knowledge and skills. It frequently includes training programs and leadership development programs. Investments in employee learning and development directly affect employee engagement and productivity, improving overall business success metrics.
Last Modified on Jan 10, 2022
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