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A significant body of research has proven that students who have opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom to work settings can be beneficial. In addition to reporting improvements in competency, students who participate in WBL are more likely to earn higher wages in their future employment.
More recent research underscores the importance of the social capital young learners developed through work-based learning experiences, and just how valuable that can be for lifelong prospects. The supervisors, mentors, and colleagues that young workers engage with during a WBL experience can be transformational, especially during an era of “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”
Employers who partner to provide Work-based learning opportunities reap rewards, especially during tight labor markets. In addition to reporting increased innovation and improved workplace diversity (which in itself results in higher profit margins), more than 80 percent of employers that supported job-shadowing, internships, and apprenticeships reported increased productivity and output. Work-based learning is also a proven talent pipeline development strategy, with many students becoming long-term employees who are trained with the precise skills, knowledge, and capacities employers need
The Work-Based Learning program encourages paid internship experiences, enabling students to gain high-quality work-based experiences while not restricting participation to those who can afford to work without compensation. Texas minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. While employers can set their own rates, employer partners are encouraged to pay a competitive wage. The Texas Workforce Commission notes that employers report paying between $12-$15 per hour for internships, and more in some in-demand fields.
For roles that require tools and equipment or uniforms, employers may not deduct expenses for these materials to the extent that it would reduce the employee’s pay below minimum wage. Where appropriate, employers should consider providing necessary work tools and equipment directly. Where this is not possible, either because employers cannot accommodate additional expenses or because student workers cannot absorb additional costs, the employer should connect with Workforce Solutions. The Workforce Solutions team may be able to identify other funding sources to cover tools, materials, and uniforms for student workers.
Yes. With the exception of a few occupations, 16 and 17-year-olds are able to work in many different types of jobs. The students participating in WBL experiences supported through Workforce Solutions will have received some form of occupational training through their high school programming. Participants are also required to complete a Work Readiness workshop designed to ensure they understand their rights as workers and are prepared to succeed.
Students age 16-17 are restricted from working in particular occupations that have been deemed hazardous, including manufacturing of explosives, driver, coal mine occupations, logging and other occupations. For certain occupations, including woodworking, metal forming, saw use, roofing, and excavation jobs, student learners may be employed under a written agreement.
Typically, a student will be able to work 50-150 hours over 10-15 weeks, depending on the employer’s needs and the student’s academic and extracurricular obligations. During summer months, students may be able to work full-time.
In all employment relationships, there is the possibility that the employer or the employee wishes to end the arrangement. In the event the employer decides that the participant must be released prior to the end of the defined work-based learning experience, the employer is responsible for informing both the high school and Workforce Solutions. The decision to terminate the participant’s employment is entirely at the discretion of the employer for cause or convenience. The work-based learning participant may also voluntarily resign. In all cases, partners recognize that terminating the relationship may affect the participant’s high school graduation plan.
In the event the termination is for cause, it is understood that:
If the employee is terminated for convenience, it is understood that:
If the employee voluntarily resigns, it is understood that:
In positive situations, employers may wish to end their agreement to bring a student on as a full-time hire. While attention should be paid to ensuring the student can continue with their education and complete the credential aligned with the work-based learning experience, WBL-to-hire is a sign of a strong program. The employer should notify Workforce Solutions of their plans to make an offer and follow their standard hiring procedures.
To assess the workforce and social outcomes of the program, as well as to ensure that students from all backgrounds are able to participate, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas will work with partner high schools and employers to collect the following information:
Workforce Solutions will also conduct periodic check-ins with the student and employer to assess satisfaction and quality, and to continuously improve the program.