One of the best ways to proactively grow your future workforce is to provide high school students with hands-on opportunities to learn more about your company and careers. Known as work-based learning (WBL) experiences, these opportunities let you interact with students while they build connections, skills, and interest in your business and begin picturing themselves in their future careers.

WBLs include a wide variety of experiences and commitments, including everything from a couple of hours of job shadowing to a summerlong internship. You can choose what works best for your company and what most effectively highlights your career offerings. WBL opportunities include internships, mentorships, cooperative work (or co-ops), apprenticeships, part-time or summer jobs, service-learning, practicums, and more.

Here are a few ways WBLs help build your future workforce:


Foster connections with students

WBLs allow you to build meaningful connections with students and grow their interest in your company and careers. They allow you to welcome students on-site to learn first-hand from your employees, helping them to picture themselves creating a future at your company. These connections can lead to additional WBLs, conversations about school or certification requirements, and future jobs.

Jeremy Durham, business development manager at Expanse Electrical in Williston, N.D., believes WBLs are an investment in the future – for both students and employers.

“It’s something that needs to be done by all companies,” he says. “It’s important to get the next generation in. Some of our best employees have come from these opportunities – they’ve been huge contributors and fast learners.”


Complement other Golden Path offerings

WBLs work hand-in-hand with other Golden Path services, like Career Profiles and sponsorships, to help build your workforce. They are a great way for students to find your company and explore other opportunities. The more ways you can get your company and careers in front of students, the better!


Easy to use in Compass

It’s easy to create and manage your WBL offerings in Compass, making it a simple yet effective way to grow your workforce. You’ll build your WBLs using a form in Compass, share them with area schools, and then begin reviewing and accepting applications. And now, thanks to our new Compass mobile app, students will have an even easier time finding your WBLs and staying in touch with you throughout the process.


Customize for your business

One of the best features of WBLs is you can choose what experiences are best for your company and customize them to your needs. Perhaps a mentorship program is the most effective way to immerse students in careers at your company or summer internships really benefit your teams and teach students valuable skills. You can set the parameters around what works best for you while also driving student interest.


Provide real work experiences

Most of all, WBLs provide real, meaningful work experiences for students, allowing them to deeply explore a career at your company. They will learn what skills they already have and which ones they need to develop, experience your company culture, build connections with other employees, and picture themselves as part of your team. Many times, students can also earn academic credit for WBLs, helping them meet their graduation requirements while also preparing for their future careers. WBLs are your opportunity to show students what working for your company is really like.


Learn more

For more information about WBLs, register for these upcoming Greater North Dakota Chamber events:

“Policy Outlook: Work-Based Learning”
Policy Outlook Series Virtual Meeting
9 a.m. Tuesday, March 19
Featuring Wayde Sick, State Director for the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education
Registration is free.

“GrowND: Workforce Solutions Showcase”
1-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23
North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck
Featuring Golden Path Solutions CEO Patrick Mineer and 10 other speakers who will present solutions for workforce challenges
Registration is $25 for members and $50 for non-members.


Our gift to you

Download our Work-Based Learning white paper for more ways WBLs can benefit you.