Work Based Learning and Job Placement

  • Work-Based Learning is a program to provide students with a planned program of job training and other employment experiences related to a chosen career. It also allows students to participate in career awareness, career exploration, and career preparedness opportunities that are connected with their work readiness goals.  Students who are enrolled in state-approved CTE programs are required to participate in work-based learning initiatives prior to becoming a program finisher.  High school pathway students can also take advantage of work-based learning opportunities that are associated with their career academy alignment.

    According to the Michigan Department of Education, there are six major recognized types of work-based learning experiences for secondary students in Michigan, as well as an additional school-related component, regarding the employment of minors as follows:  

    1. student/visitor,  
    2. volunteer,  
    3. work-based learning non-CTE programs (paid and unpaid student learner),  
    4. work-based learning state-approved CTE programs (paid and unpaid student learner),  
    5. in-district/in-school placement (unpaid student learner), and  
    6. minor employee with a work permit.  

    Depending on the type of learning experience, the pupil might be engaged for one hour, one day, one semester, or even one year in length. The learning experience may be paid or unpaid, serves all students, and can be an in-school or out-of-school placement.

    Work-Based Learning has replaced the old CO-OP programs that were offered at high schools. They are a full continuum of experiences progressing in quality and intensity that is accessible to every student throughout their program of study. Work-Based Learning experiences should be matched to the student’s specific career interests, abilities, maturity, and progression through the program. 

    To learn more about Work-Based Learning opportunities for students please click on the following links: 

    Getting Ready for Work: Work-based Learning

    Work-Based Learning placements are categorized into three types: paid placements, unpaid placements, and in-district placements (paid or unpaid).  

    Paid Placements

    A work-based student in a paid placement becomes an employee of the business in which they are placed and is afforded all the rights and privileges of an employee.  The placement must be related to the career pathway program in which the student is enrolled. Paid placements must still meet WBL requirements, such as the completion of a training plan and training agreement, and youth employment policies and rules, and the student must continue to attend their career pathway class for no less than 40 minutes each week.  Students in paid placements are not required to adjust their training plan every 45 hours to avoid duplication of tasks.  

    Unpaid Placements

    A work-based learning student sustained, unpaid WBL placements typically occur during the scheduled classroom time, unless a special exception is documented.  Unpaid career pathway placements may be off-site with a business/industry partner.  The training cannot be for more than 45 hours per specific training experience; learning experiences must be documented in the training plan.  Different training experiences may occur at one location if there are multiple training plans with no duplication of tasks and an agreement that clearly defines separate training experiences every 45 hours.  

    In-district Placements

    In-district placements are an opportunity for career pathway students to gain work experience and build skills in placements Detroit Public Schools Community District.  Placements may occur in a variety of settings. 

    To place a student in an in-district placement, the following criteria must be met: 

    • A student must be enrolled in the state-approved CTE program; in-district placement is not allowed for non-CTE students.  
    • A student must attend the CTE program for 40 minutes per week, either in person or online.  
    • An In-District Placement Form is used in lieu of a training agreement.

    Registered Youth Apprenticeship

    Registered Youth Apprenticeship programs include a training program registered with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) and specific to the business and industry cluster area Connection to Competencies and Standards. 

    Student Eligibility for Work-based Learning Program

     The following criteria should be met for Work-Based Learning eligibility: 

    •  The student should not have a record of excessive absences.
    •  The student should be enrolled in a career pathway program, with at least a 2.0 GPA.
    •  The student should be on track to graduate and classified as a junior or a senior.
    •  The student should have followed class and school policies concerning discipline in the present and previous years and have had no excessive discipline referrals. 

    Getting Ready for Work: Work-based Learning Employer Partner 

    In partnership with Urban Alliance, the District’s premier partner, students are provided a work-based learning opportunity.  Through Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program, DPSCD high school seniors earn course credit while participating in this 10-month paid career readiness training program.

    For more information, please visit Urban Alliance’s website: