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    What is Work-Based Learning (WBL)?
    Work-Based Learning is a program within the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Department that provides students with the opportunity to learn a variety of skills by expanding the classroom into the community and narrowing the gap between theory and practice through rigorous academic preparation with hands-on career development experiences. Through WBL experiences, students are afforded the opportunity to connect classroom instruction to the world of work and future career opportunities. 

    In Atlanta Public Schools, our mission is that “With a caring culture of trust and collaboration, every student will graduate ready for college and career”. We believe CTAE programs and WBL experiences are a cornerstone for preparing students to be College and Career Ready!

    The mission of the Work-Based Learning Program is to assist in providing a highly trained, technologically sophisticated and career oriented young work force. This is accomplished by developing partnerships between business, industry, students, parents, school systems, coordinators, and post-secondary institutions which will lead the participating student into meaningful careers.

    Requirements to Participate in WBL

    • Parental approval
    • Successful completion of the WBL application process
    • Enrollment in or successful completion of at least two CTAE courses
    • Defined Career Goal
    • 11th or 12th grade (at least 16 years old)
    • Teacher recommendation
    • Satisfactory attendance, academic and discipline records
    • On track for graduation
    • Reliable transportation to and from work
    Although Work-Based Learning is offered at every high school in the Atlanta Public Schools District, scheduling may affect the requirements for entry.  Please contact the WBL Coordinator at your school of interest to get a complete list of participation requirements.

    Work-Based Learning Categories

    Based on occupational goals and CTAE course enrollment, WBL students are placed in one of the following categories:

    Youth Apprenticeship (paid or non-paid): Apprenticeships are intended to begin preparing for a career while they are still in high school.  Youth Apprenticeship students are provided the opportunity to concurrently earn a high school diploma, a postsecondary credential or diploma, and industry recognized certification in their chosen area of study. Post-secondary education and/or training is required.

    Internship (paid or non-paid): Internships can be either a short or long-term placement that is directly related to a student’s pathway and occur after a student has completed the relevant course work.

    Cooperative Education (paid): Cooperative Education programs provide paid work experiences aligned with the course(s) in which the student is concurrently enrolled.

    Employability Skills Development (paid): Designed for students who desire to experience entry level work and understand the culture of the workplace although their career goal, coursework and placement are not aligned.  Employability Skills Development students must be candidates for another category by the end of their WBL enrollment.

    WBL Benefits Students, Employers, and the Community!

    One of our work-based learning program goals is to benefit students, as well as employers and our community!


    • Exposure to various career opportunities
    • Earn high school credit
    • Connection between educational and work experiences
    • Promotion of self-confidence at school and work
    • Expansion and refinement of their technical skills
    • Development and practice of positive work-related habits and attitudes such as responsibility, critical thinking, problem-solving and team work 


    • Skilled, motivated, and pre-screened employees
    • Ability to provide students with a better understanding of a career field
    • Opportunity to influence student development to meet industry requirements
    • Expanded pool of qualified applicants
    • Opportunity to provide meaningful contribution and/or partnership with local school/system
    • Potential to earn Worker’s Compensation Insurance Discounts (GA HB 402)


    • Development of a skilled work force
    • Enhanced youth employability
    • Economic growth through an expanded skilled workforce and taxpayer base


    Follow us on Twitter @APS_WBL to see our Work-Based Learning students in action!  We love to promote the success of our students in Work-Based Learning because #APSWBLWORKS.

    For more information about Work-Based Learning, please contact: Dr. Dwionne Freeman by phone at (404) 802-5894 or email at dfreeman@atlanta.k12.ga.us.