Work Experience Education (WEE)

Provides paid or unpaid on-the-job experiences for secondary school students through training agreements with employers. Types of work experience programs are: vocational; general; and exploratory.

Work Experience Education (WEE) is a course of study which may be established by the governing board of any school district or other specified local educational agency (LEA) in accordance with the provisions of the CaliforniaEducation Code Section 51760 and the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 5, Section 10070-75. Each LEA that elects to conduct a WEE program must submit a plan for WEE to the California Department of Education for approval. Eligible LEAs include school districts, county offices of education, consolidated cooperatives, charter schools, private schools, and migrant education regions.

The operational plan of the WEE program combines an on-the-job component with related classroom instruction designed to maximize the value of on-the-job experiences. Students' success in WEE programs depends on the quality of classroom instruction, effective collaboration between employers and the WEE coordinators, and the degree of involvement by the students and their parents or legal guardians.

WEE includes both paid and non-paid experiences. The LEA may offer one or more of the following types of WEE programs authorized by CCR, Title 5, Section 10071:

Purpose

The WEE program is part of a total educational process that: (1) helps students to choose a career path wisely; (2) prepares them for full-time employment suitable for their abilities and interests; and (3) affords students the opportunity to learn to work with others in ways that are successful and rewarding. The WEE program uses the integrated efforts of teachers, counselors, students, parents, and employers to achieve the following purposes:

  • Link the academic core curriculum with the world of work and promote students' school-to-career transitions.
  • Help students develop skills, habits, and attitudes conducive to job success and personal growth.
  • Assist students in selecting careers and preparing realistically and wisely for the world of work.
  • Use the community's business-industrial complex as a career training laboratory to help the students develop a positive work ethic and acquire or refine work related skills and job performance in actual work settings.

Exploratory Work Experience

The objective is to provide career guidance to students and ascertain their interests and aptitudes for specific careers through opportunities to observe and sample a variety of conditions of work. Exploratory Work Experience includes a combination of job observations and related classroom instruction in WEE. The student may be required to perform non-paid work activities while exploring the occupation on a limited, periodic, and sampling basis. The length of exploratory assignment may vary, depending on the aptitude of the student, the occupation being explored, the facilities of the work station, and the job classification. Students may not participate in Exploratory Work Experience programs if pay is received for similar work at the same work station or a similar job during hours when not assigned to the Exploratory Work Experience program. (The student cannot replace a paid employee.) The LEA must provide workers' compensation insurance for the student. Secondary school students enrolled in Exploratory Work Experience may be under 16 years of age.

General Work Experience Education

The purpose is to provide students with opportunities for applying the basic skills of reading, writing, and computation through a combination of supervised employment in any occupational field and related classroom instruction.

Career Technical Education

The intent is to reinforce and extend vocational learning opportunities for students through a combination of related classroom instruction and supervised paid employment.