What Does Work-Based Learning Look Like?

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Career Awareness

Many students are unaware of fascinating careers available within their local communities and across the state. You cannot dream of or work towards something you do not know even exists. Join the hundreds of North Carolina businesses that are helping to expand perspectives for future and current job seekers. Help us better prepare North Carolinians with job shadowing and job exposure.

Career Exploration

Exploring careers not only provides students an opportunity to see what options are available for them in the future, but also provides second-hand experience working with professionals in the field. Through the many career exploration options, students get to learn through work as well as gain insights and technical skills that will help them in the future.

Career Experience

Career Experiences provide students first-hand experience working with companies in multiple industries.


Bringing together government, education, and industry partners, NCBCE’s Building Bright Futures is an early childhood education apprenticeship program designed to rebuild and grow NC’s childcare workforce.  Targeted to high school students and recent graduates, the program offers resources and services to support students in paid work-based learning opportunities as they progress toward a college degree in early childhood education.

STEPs4GROWTH is a comprehensive clean energy workforce development project funded by a grant from the US Department of Commerce. It is led by NC A&T State University with support from NCBCE and other partners. STEPs4GROWTH works with employers to train students and adults to fill well-paying jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean vehicles, and grid & resiliency.

Since 2017, NCBCE has been leading the state’s efforts to expand, pilot, and promote work-based learning and to provide technical assistance to employers and local education and workforce partners. The Experience More site provides toolkits, information, examples, and strategies to support work-based learning.

LiNC-IT (Linking North Carolina with Innovative Talent) addresses the high unemployment rate (86%) of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and employers’ need for educated, loyal, and detail-oriented workers. LiNC-IT provides job coaching for interns and their managers to support success. To date, this program has had 48 interns working with 19 employers, with 97% of interns getting full-time employment.

NCBCE is leading North Carolina’s participation in the National Governors Association Work-Based Learning Policy Academy as a Leader State. Through this multi-system initiative, NC Career Launch was developed. Career Launch programs provide students with work-based learning and education or credential attainment to prepare them for the workforce.  NCBCE works with partners to expand these programs and launch innovative pilots that provide opportunities for students and a pipeline of future team members for employers.

As part of the NC Student Connect program, NCBCE hosted a series of remote learning professional development conferences for educators: Remote Education and Learning (REAL), REAL 2.0, STEM Connect, and Cultural Arts LIVE.  All sessions were recorded and can be found on the website.

The Ready, Set, App! Competition is a statewide initiative that challenges NC high school students to create a mobile app that addresses a problem in their school or community. Ready, Set, App! focuses on three primary pillars: mobile app development, professional and personal development, and interpersonal and soft skills development.  The competition is sponsored by Lenovo.

Students@Work℠, a career awareness program held by Gubernatorial Proclamation, introduces NC middle school students to businesses and careers. Students are hosted by employers (on-site or virtually) and learn about career pathways in real-world business environments. Career Awareness is a critical first step in adding relevancy to academics and positioning students to successfully navigate career pathways. Many students are unaware of the multitude of careers available within their state and Students@Work helps bridge this gap.

Teachers@Work is a teacher-externship model designed in partnership by NCBCE and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The program provides educators from across the state with unique, hands-on learning experiences inside local businesses, non-profit organizations, and state entities. Through these experiences, educators gain a more robust understanding of the technical skills, behaviors, and mindsets students need to be successful in today’s professional environments.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, NCBCE convened representatives from business, education, government, and non-profits to develop short-term connectivity strategies for remote learning.  Through this work, NCBCE raised grant funding to support remote learning in rural districts and assisted in the development of NC Student Connect, which has connected over 83,000 students with high-speed internet.  The work continues to address the student digital divide in NC.

The NC Student Connect Tech Team is a comprehensive framework for North Carolina schools and districts to access resources for starting, implementing, and scaling a student technology support desk. NCBCE also worked with leaders of NC tech companies to develop a list of industry-developed credentials that students and teachers can access. Since its launch in 2020, twenty-one pilot districts have developed programs to support Tech Team programs which give students valuable work-based learning and credential attainment.

Professional development is critical to supporting educators. The Governor’s Educator Discovery Award recognizes exemplary and innovative teachers and provides them with monetary stipends to cover the costs associated with the selected professional development opportunities. Three teachers receive the award each quarter.