Work-Based Learning

Ensuring that everyone can get into well-paying, stable careers through accessible, affordable education and training is a top priority for the nation’s Governors, as is creating an economic climate that is supportive of strong businesses and prosperous communities.

Broad economic disruption is changing work, workers and workplaces at an accelerated pace. These disruptive forces include technological advancement, artificial intelligence, globalization and labor force demographics, all of which contribute to the changing nature of work and the types of work that may be available in the near future.

Governors and other state leaders recognize that their residents must be better prepared to keep pace with and adapt to change and new technological disruptions throughout their careers. In this climate of disruption, these leaders are pursuing strategies to identify and scale high-quality education and training programs to prepare their residents for good jobs. One such promising strategy is work-based learning.

Work-based learning connects classroom education with on-the-job experience that states can deploy to help businesses and workers better meet their current needs while enhancing states’ ability to prepare their future workforce for success. Moreover, as the nature of work and careers changes, work-based learning can prepare students to engage in active learning both at work and in the classroom and develop new skills throughout their careers.

Governors increasingly value work-based learning as a key strategy to strengthen their talent pipelines and prepare their future workforce for success.

Featured Publication

Diversifying Partnerships For Success In Work-Based Learning

Governors have the unique ability to convene and support diverse partnerships in WBL. Their WBL strategy should consider the full breadth of potential partnerships and how those partnerships can help them achieve their education and workforce goals.

NGA Resources

Defining and Measuring Quality in Work-Based Learning

Defining and Measuring Quality in Work-Based Learning

This February 12, 2019 webinar featured a presentation by the Urban Institute on defining and measuring high-quality work-based learning, and a state ...
Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning to discuss the Strengthening Career and Technical Education

Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning to discuss the Strengthening Career and Technical Education

On February 7, 2019 at 3pm ET, NGA held a webinar for all cohorts of the Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning ...
Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning: Second Cross-State Meeting

Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning: Second Cross-State Meeting

October 3-5, 2018 | Raleigh, North Carolina The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) hosted the second policy academy cross-state ...

Policy Academy On Scaling Work-Based Learning

The NGA Center for Best Practices, with support from the Siemens Foundation, is assisting states in scaling high quality work-based learning programs for youth and young adults in STEM-intensive industries such as advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and energy. Currently in Phase III, since 2016 the Academy has engaged 23 states and one territory through a mix of intensive technical assistance, peer learning and topic-based learning labs.

State Work-Based Learning Websites

Click on a state to be directed to their work-based learning initiatives and programs.

  • MENTOR STATES have been selected to share best practices with new states in Phase III.
  • LEARNING LAB STATES are participating in intensive technical assistance with Mentor States focused on different topics including adapting work-based learning during the pandemic and using work-based learning as a catalyst for economic recovery
  • States that participated in Phase I or Phase II of the Policy Academy

Tools & Resources

External Resources

Contact us

For more information, questions, or requests, please contact Amanda Winters, Program Director, Post Secondary Education, NGA Center for Best Practices

Related NGA Initiatives

  • Since March of 2020, Governors have taken action to address once-in-a-lifetime economic circumstances by providing assistance to displaced small businesses and workers, while putting in place longer-term supports to help Americans succeed in a changing world of work. The State Equitable Recovery Coalition, will build on these initiatives and others to connect strategically to maximize networks, expertise and resources on behalf of the Governors of states and territories and the workers they represent.
  • NGA is providing comprehensive support and assistance to all American Apprenticeship Initiative grantees in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, with additional support from the Siemens Foundation.
  • NGA is a partner on New America’s Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship.
  • NGA is a partner on the American Association of Community College’s Expanding Community College Apprenticeships project