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Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area

Work-Based Learning For Employers

What does it mean to be involved with schools?

Being involved with schools often means engaging in Work-Based Learning (WBL), a crucial component of the education space. WBL programs provide students with opportunities to learn and apply real-world skills, bridging the gap between academic knowledge and practical experience. Students gain valuable insights and competencies that prepare them for the workforce. This integration of classroom learning with practical application enhances their understanding and equips them with the tools needed to succeed in their future careers.

What are the benefits to your business?

Work-Based Learning (WBL) offers numerous benefits to employers. By participating in WBL programs, employers can cultivate a pipeline of skilled and prepared future employees, tailored to the specific needs of their industry. This collaboration allows companies to influence the training and development of students, ensuring they acquire relevant skills and knowledge. Additionally, WBL programs can enhance a company's reputation and community standing, showcasing their commitment to education and workforce development. Employers also benefit from fresh perspectives and innovative ideas brought in by students, which can contribute to the organization’s growth and adaptability. Overall, WBL fosters a mutually beneficial relationship between businesses and educational institutions, promoting a well-equipped and competent future workforce.

What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) refers to educational programs that equip students with practical skills and knowledge directly related to specific industries and careers. Designed to meet the needs of the modern workforce, CTE combines academic instruction with hands-on training in fields such as healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, and trades. For employers, CTE provides a pipeline of job-ready individuals who have been trained in the latest industry standards and practices, reducing the time and resources needed for on-the-job training. CTE helps ensure that graduates possess the technical competencies and professional skills required to excel in their chosen careers from day one.

Ways to get Involved:

Click on the links below for resources:

Download the complete Work-Based Learning Toolkit here.

Need Work-Based Learning Support? Contact Heather Thomas, Regional Convener

Reach out to Heather Thomas at to kickstart your work-based learning journey, or simply complete our Work-Based Learning for Employers form for personalized support. 

Heather Thomas

Heather Thomas

Pathway Development Manager

Other Helpful Resources:

The Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area Business Services Team is committed to helping you find workforce solutions for your company at every stage of your operations. Leverage their vast knowledge, experience, and community resources, to help your business compete at a global level.

To contact a member of our Business Services Team, send us a message at

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Heather Thomas

Sector: Public Sector

Heather Thomas

Pathway Development Manager

Heather joins the Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area team as the Pathway Development Manager for the Tri-Agency Grant for Regional Conveners. Her goal will be to forge workforce pathways for students through collaborating with school districts, industry partners, and higher education providers. She brings a background in Career and Technical Education (CTE) through teaching and also coaching school districts in setting up successful CTE programs using labor market data. 

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Radford University and a Master’s degree in Education from Lamar University. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and pup, fitness, gardening, and reading. Her favorite place is her deck overlooking the forest.