Work-Based Learning

In an increasingly complex global economy, all students must be prepared with intellectual, technical, and social skills needed to compete and contribute meaningfully to their communities. For most, this will mean completing some postsecondary education or training; for all, it will mean learning about themselves and the world of work.

Work-based learning (WBL) is a proactive approach to bridging the gap between high school and high-demand, high-skill careers in Tennessee. Students build on classroom-based instruction to develop employability skills that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and future careers. Through experiences like internships, apprenticeships, and paid work experience, juniors and seniors (16 years or older) may earn high school credit for capstone WBL experiences. WBL Coordinators are educators who are trained and certified by the state to coordinate these WBL experiences for students.

The department is redesigning current WBL policies and developing new resources to help districts offer WBL experiences to their students. Updated policies will be implemented in the 2015-2016 school year.

2015-16 WBL Updates

WBL Coordinators are responsible for keeping up-to date with policy changes implemented while their certificate is active. Effective July 1, 2015, the following updates are required for all WBL Coordinators to comply with Tennessee State Board Rules and Policies and Tennessee Department of Education Policies for WBL.

Policy Update

Standards

On January 30, 2015, two WBL courses were adopted on final reading for the 2015-16 school year. WBL courses are based on the most critical skills identified by over 75 industry and postsecondary partners.

  • Career Exploration – 8th or 9th grade introductory course
  • Work-Based Learning: Career Practicum – Capstone WBL course for 11th and 12th grade
  • For a complete list of WBL Courses, see the WBL Updates FAQ, listed above under “Policy Update”
  • Career Clusters - For additional course information, visit or Career Clusters page and look for Work-Based Learning.

Certification and Professional Development Update

Effective March 24, 2015, WBL Certification training has changed to accommodate new policies and procedures. Trainings will be two full days and are available to all new and WBL certified teachers who hold an active teaching license in Tennessee. Trainings certify first-time participants as well as instructors whose WBL certificates have expired. 

Beginning in the Fall 2015, regional Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for WBL Coordinators will form to share successful practices from across the state and to facilitate discussions on topics relevant to WBL program success. WBL Coordinators who attend four (4) or more PLCs in a school year will earn an updated WBL certificate, good for two years from date of issue.

  • WBL Certification and PD Handout
  • Effective July 1, 2016, all WBL Certificates will expire two years from date of issue. 
  • WBL Coordinators may renew a certificate prior to expiration by attending four (4) or more WBL PLC meetings in a single year.

WBL Training and Professional Development

Register here for all WBL training sessions. Registration closes two weeks prior to the training, or when the session has been filled. Priority is given to teachers who have never earned the certificate and need it to offer a course for credit.

For questions about WBL training and certification, please email: WBL.training@tn.gov

WBL Certification Training

WBL Coordinators are responsible for keeping up-to-date with WBL policy changes as they are released by the Department. All coordinators will need the 2015-16 WBL updates to be in compliance during the 2015-16 school year.

Teachers may get these required updates through the WBL webpage starting on March 24, 2015, or they may attend an upcoming in-person training session. Spring and summer sessions are for all new and existing WBL Coordinators and will focus on 2015-16 updated policies. These sessions will certify new WBL Coordinators or recertify existing WBL Coordinators:

  • Mar. 25-26, 2015: West TN, Lexington High School in Henderson County
  • Apr. 8-9, 2015: East TN, Rhea County High School
  • Apr. 15-16, 2015: Mid TN, Location TCAT Hohenwald (tentative)
  • June 9-10, 2015: East TN, Greeneville (tentative)
  • June 17-18, 2015: West TN, Arlington High School in Shelby County
  • June 23-24, 2015: Mid TN, Independence High School in Williamson County
  • July 9-10, 2015: Mid TN: Institute for CTE Educators, Music City Center, Nashville

WBL Professional Learning Communities

Coming soon! Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, regional WBL Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings will be held five to six times per year within each CORE region. PLCs will enable instructors to learn about successful practices from across the state and discuss topics essential to WBL program success. Attending four (4) or more PLC meetings within a school year will renew an instructor’s WBL certificate automatically. Scheduled meetings will be posted here as they are announced.

WBL Coordinator Resources

WBL Requirements

Quick Reference Materials

Additional Resources for Program Development

2014-15 WBL Resources

The following resources are effective until June 30, 2015: for more information about WBL policies and resources for the 2015-16 school year, please review the information in the 2015-16 WBL Updates section above. Summary sheets must be submitted to the department for all WBL placements during the 2014-15 school year (deadline for spring submission is March 15). After the March 15 deadline, all outstanding summary sheets should be emailed directly to Tina.McNeal@tn.gov.

WBL Email Updates

For important WBL updates, please sign up for the email list.

WBL Requirements

Last Update: March 17, 2015