Work-based learning plays a central role in bridging the classroom experience with the world of work.

What is Work-Based Learning?

Work-based learning (WBL) is an educational strategy that uses the workplace to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life work activities and future career opportunities.


The Office of Work-Based Learning at Pasadena City College focuses on programs around career preparation and training, with the purpose of connecting classroom learning to the world of work. This is achieved by addressing the following:  

WBL provides an opportunity to gain a better understanding of a particular career and of workplace norms and typical employer expectations of their employers.

WBL is an opportunity for immersion in the field of interest and interaction with professionals who are already working in it. These opportunities are especially relevant for participants in internships.

Students apply classroom learning in real-world situations through WBL, which reinforces knowledge gained in the classroom and enables students to build their skills. This process of reinforcing classroom learning and demonstrating its relevance to the world of work is especially important because it bolsters student persistence in, and successful completion of, education training. Co-ops, experiential learning courses, and apprenticeships all deliberately integrate work-based learning and classroom learning.

Students who participate in WBL gain skills that are valued by employers but may be challenging to teach in classroom settings. These include professional skills such as working as part of a team, being proactive, and understanding workplace expectations. Students who participate in WBL also have the opportunity to learn and apply specific technical and career-track skills and work with industry-standard equipment and technology, ensuring that they are well-prepared for careers.

Employers view WBL as a trial period for potential employees and ultimately choose to hire from the pool of work-based learning participants. This provides participants with the skills they need to enter or advance in their careers.

These core purposes of WBL benefit both students and employers. Our WBL model will lead to the development of a workforce made up of individuals with the professional and employability skills, experience, and post-secondary degrees and credentials that match employer expectations and workforce needs.