Work Base Learning goes virtual

A sign of the times: Work-Based Learning goes virtual


Students at the Center for Career Services are required by the New York State Board of Education to complete a Work-Based Learning program, enabling them to gain real-world experience in a number of industries. 

In the past, students may have explored potential careers through paid internships or jobs. However, due to the pandemic, in-person experiences have been greatly reduced. The desire to have students engage in these activities has not decreased but has transitioned to virtual. 

Southern Westchester BOCES Work Based Learning Coordinator Garrett Jennings has created a virtual work based learning classroom for teachers to share with their students. Accompanying the virtual classroom is a YouTube video with help from the TV and Sound Production programs. The video highlights what the WBL program is about and the expectations for students. 

“We reached out to local Chambers of Commerce and SkillsUSA,” said Mr. Jennings. “We also worked with our ELA consultant as a means to help create a beneficial program.” 

Preparations to launch the virtual classrooms also included interviewing companies that already have experience in virtual WBL and developing assignments for students. 

“It’s a way to centralize things,” Mr. Jennings said. This way students and teachers have all the information they need in one place. The program can also be shared with student homeschools so they also know what the program is about and what are the student expectations.

The virtual classroom is also more convenient for students, who can find all the information that they need for the required 54 hours of WBL right on their phones. 

Mr. Jennings has also shared the classroom at the Lower Hudson Valley Zone meeting, which is part of the Work Experience Coordinator’s Association he chairs.